Frederick Douglass should have a new prominent statue at the Maryland State House to commemorate his extraordinary life, his fight against racism in America, and to celebrate his 200th birthday in 2018.

Roger B. Taney, Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court, wrote the 1857 Dred Scott Decision declaring that African Americans have no Constitutional rights. His statue at the front door of the Maryland State House remains an insult to all.

The proposed monument relocates the Roger B. Taney statue to face a new standing statue of Frederick Douglass. Both statues would be on an educational terrace that explains their opposite views of the US Constitution, and the nature of racism before and after the Civil War. The educational terrace and two statues create an open area for people to stand between the two statues, and see the beauty of the State House front door, porch and dome. From a preservation point of view, the Taney Statue is preserved and retained without modification. The Taney statue becomes an indispensable part of a larger more significant monument that with the Douglass statue can tell the story of the Constitutional crisis of the Civil War and racism in America.

The new standing statue of Frederic Douglass would be the same scale as Taney, about twice life size. There is no significant monument to Douglass at the Maryland State House—clearly one of Maryland’s most important native sons. He should be depicted at about forty years of age, the time of the Dred Scott Decision which he publicly debated and denounced.


Roger Taney Statue: What would Frederick Douglass Do?

The bronze statue of Chief Justice Roger B. Taney was funded by the Maryland State legislature in 1867, only two short years after the Civil War. During the funding debate, pronouncements were made that the State of Maryland was erecting the statue to declare that Taney’s Dred Scott Decision was “just, righteous and right”. The Confederate sympathizing Democrat Legislature placed the statue at the front door of the State House to declare that regardless of the results of the Civil War, white dominance would not be interrupted.

Taney was disgraced immediately when he wrote the 1857 infamous Dred Scott Decision. In it he declared that blacks were inferior and had no constitutional rights which any white man was obligated to honor. The Dred Scott Decision was roundly denounced not just for the overt racism, but also because Taney’s judicial framework was heavily flawed. After his death in 1864, Congress refused to commission his official portrait. Today, the Dred Scott Decision is still considered the worst judicial finding of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Current proposals before the Maryland Legislature call for the removal or destruction of the statue. This is an understandable counteraction to the place of honor the Taney statue has held which blatantly endorses racism.

We believe that there is a better way: keep the Taney statue and use it to teach. Arrange the Taney statue with a new statue of Frederick Douglass. Douglass and Taney were both from Maryland, they shared the national stage together at the same time, on opposite sides of the Civil War. The new statue of Douglass should have him standing with a posture and look that is willful, positive and determined. His statue would stand face to face with the Taney statue as a symbol of the triumph of progressive ideals. Let us depict Douglass as he lived his life: he stood up against Taney, and voiced his powerful opposition to Taney’s corrupt view of the Constitution and humanity.

What would Frederick Douglass do today with the statue of Chief Justice Roger B. Taney at the Maryland State House? He would not remove it to a dark corner. He would not destroy it. He would stand before it and shine a bright light on the blatant racism it has endorsed for the last 150 years.

Let’s build this new monument now to honor Douglass on his 200th birthday, to celebrate how he stood up to the privileged racism of Taney, show that the placement of the Taney statue in 1872 was an act of State sponsored racist hatred and fear. Let’s turn the Taney statue into a monument that explains how the pernicious tentacles of racism still hold our society hostage to bitterness and hate. Let’s make the Taney statue sit on his privileged seat of comfort until a new generation does not know what racism is. Then, and only then, his statue can be moved off to a dark corner and the obscurity it so richly deserves.


Petition Signers

Renae Barton
Lou Novacheck
Brandon Mackel
Brandon Mackel
Tisha Edwards
Ethel Gardner Bulluck
Russell Crawford
Melinda Gosselin
Barbara Sause
Alexis Hyman
James Humphrey
Hayley Monroe
Linda Humphrey
Abbie Ellicott
Elizabeth Knapp
Marilyn Hatza
M. Linda Martinak
Colin A Hanna
Dr. C.James Trotman
Kenneth C Mackel, Sr.
Tracy Price
Dwight Mackel
Leslie Saunders
Leia Porter
Jenny Davids
vincent Leggett
Alison M. Parker
nancy r parker
Virginia Smith
Abigail Breiseth
Rev. Ryan P. Sirmons
Jocelyn Conway Malone
Lynda Davis
Ylonn Jackson
Randy Carol Goguen
David Bird
Alistair Morrison
Margaret Engvall
Elaine Farrant
Ellen Morrison
Ellen Morrison
William Martin
Laura Shanley
Sue Amos
Susan Shamuluas
Paul Murphy
Rebecca A. Greenwell
Melinda LeBlanc
Gundel Bowen
Brenda Greer
Marlon Tilghman
patricia spencer
Elaine Mumford
barbara geiger
Cynthia Pugh Givens
Marilyn Drea
Kathleen Smith
Bradley Greer
Karren Pope-Onwukwe
Anne Guillette
Kara Crissey
Trudie Butler
Laura Salladin
Karen Jennings
Matt Gregory
Reginald Harris
Lori Crim
Sharon williams
John Lorch
Stacey Sickels Locke
Carol Nida
Ludia Sarmast
Michael Booth
Pat Montague
Dinah Little
Denise Johnson
Alice D. Ike
Jeanne Pieper
Jeanne Pieper
Sandra Q
Fay Mauro
Antoinette Robinson
Stacey King
Kevin Spruill
Jennifer Troy
Marianne and Bob Drumm
Rebecca Anne Estep
Alexis Bond
Diane Goforth
Vondalee R. Hunt
Karen Branan
Sally Lockley
The Rev. Diana E. Carroll
Stephen Masson
Sandra Kirkland
Paula Harris
Nataschu Brooks
Ashley heffernan
Marva Harris-Watson
Sarah Elfreth
Larry Davis
Luke Borchelt
William Skinner
B.J. Skinner
Barbara Nelson
Neil Harpe
Julia Gibb
Shana Pratt
Paula Sparks
David Parrish
B, Nicki Parrish
Lisa Hardy
Roger H. Kizer Ball
Jessica Sunshine
Samuel J. Colbert
Linda Girdner
Mary Dadone
Heather Fleming
Jamie Calloway Hanauer
Pastor Dave Oravec
Debra Jasen
Rev. Kenneth O. Phelps, Jr.
The Rev. Dr. William L. Hathaway
Theodore R. Hudson
Eric Washington
Bettina Nechay
Kevin Burke
Alexus Viegas
Pamela Luby
Eric W. Edstrom
Rebecca Ludwig
Morrisa Reddon
Sheryl W. Washington
Janice Temple
Theodore Mack
Matthew Hopkins
Phillip H. Omohundro
Matthew O'Neill
Anne Palmer
Valerie Naylor
Phil Schuman
Hallie Herz
Keely Fitzpatrick
Laurel West Lennon
Elizabeth Hollick
Betty A. Mack
Sarah Judd
Rick Rybeck
Jane Zanger
Jo lahmon
Deborah Wood
Carol Benson
Pat Mitchell
Norma Kaladas
Richard Everett
Bart Hoffstein
Emily Legum
Janet Favero
Linda A. Aikens
Paul Kaladas
Ruth & Steve Orton
Robert F. Whitcomb
Howard Friedman
Prudence Clendenning
Judy T Lazarus
John Gudas
Linda Eggbeer
Dwayne Langston
Caroline Purdy
Jere Glover
Pamela Polgreen
Sharon Stewart
Sylvia Impett
Maureen Cavaiola
Barbara Hoffstein
Alpine Bire
Carroll McGillin
Joan scott
Margo Dean Pinson
Bronwyn Belling
Tara Clifford
Cynthia Boyd
Walter W Tibbs
Charlene smith
Doris Belton
Mona Smith
A naylor
Barbara J. Maginley
Gretchen Wharton
Donna McEachern
Olivia Bane
DeMaurice Moses MD
Joyce Stokes
Rashad Moore
William LW Bush V
Joseph E. Jenifer
Carol Sidney
Nancy Bowman Williams
Amelia Mitchell
Monique Y. Langston, D.O.
Edwin Henderson
Shaina Solomon
Nickie Graves Henderson
Belinda Nixon
Eric R. Baugh, M.D.
Richard Clifford
Lois Zajic
Beverly & Douglas Jackson
Will Baker
Lucas Johnson
Sharon Benjamin-Bothwell
Rev. Henry Green
Rev. Henry Green
Nancy Tittler
Donna Gathright
Kenneth Nelson
Nancy R. Parker
Jan Heininger
Martha Johnson
Ted sheils
Steven Johnson
Barbara Eilertsen
Bonnie Hatchard
Steven Hays
Barbara Hatchl
Jessica Lowry
The Rev. Dr. William L. Hathaway
Molly White
Donald Brill
Michelle Coates
The Rev Dr Carletta Allen
Theodore H. Mack
Theodore H. Mack
Donald E. Roland
Kara koymen
Mary P. Felter
Kenneth A Kirby
Zora Lathan
Kenneth B. Morris, Jr.
Emily Elizabeth Brown
Lucas Hill
Donald C. Roane
Hampton Marshall "Skip" Auld
Charles W. Ferrar
Myesha Brooks
Ray Langston
Cree Harmon
Larry Ulvila
Chip Bohl
Ronald A. Baradel
Alison Hooper
Mary East
Darryl Jackson
Tony J. Spencer
Joyce Stokes
Bill Regan
Monique Langston
Marc Aprer
Kyle sanders
Amy Naylor
George Brown
Qiana Broadnax
Andrew L. Ross
Aris T. Allen, Jr
Dr. William H. Sanders III
Frederick Gregory
John R. Bieberich
Jennifer Doyle
Elizabeth Jean Langston
Angela Healy
Shawn Noratel
Jessica Giovachino