Baltimore is quietly contacting Confederate groups to unload unwanted statues

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What do you do with very large and controversial statues no one wants? What’s the dilemma faced by Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake following a city commission recommendation to remove two statues — one of Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, and one of Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Taney, who authored the infamous Dred Scott decision — from city land.

“She wants to find an appropriate place for those monuments, if she decides to go ahead and remove them,” said Rawlings-Blake’s spokesman, Anthony McCarthy. “It hasn’t been as easy, to be honest, as we thought.”

In fact, the city has been quietly contacting “Confederate groups” to ask if they would like to buy the statues, the Wall Street Journal reports, but so far the organizations have balked either at the cost or the idea of helping to remove the memorials from public space. The commission recommended transferring the statues to a national park such as a Civil War battlefield, but it turns out parks aren’t allowed to accept the statues unless they were previously “removed from the park and are necessary to achieve the park purpose or authorized legislation.”

In the meantime, Rawlings-Blake has ordered new signage for both statues, as well as two other Confederate monuments the commission decided to keep, to explain their historical context.

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