WASHINGTON — A week after the Spirit of the Confederacy Monument across the street from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore was painted with the words “Black Lives Matter,” Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake is calling for a special commission to review all of Baltimore’s Confederate statues and “historical assets”.
The commission will “launch a conversation about each of the different Confederate-era monuments and other historical assets and make recommendations for their future in Baltimore,” according to a news release.
The recommendations might include, but are not limited to, preservation, new signage, relocation, or removal. Rawlings-Blake will ask the group to report their recommendations within six months.
Rawlings-Blake will select commission members from the Baltimore City Commission For Historical & Architectural Preservation and the Baltimore Public Art Commission.
“I believe it is important for us to take a thoughtful, reasoned approach to these Confederate-era monuments, rather than rush to simply ‘tear them down’ or ‘keep them up’ in the heat of the moment,” Mayor Rawlings-Blake said.
The background and significance of each of the items will be researched and the group will make “a recommendation that recognizes and respects the history that we need future generations to understand,” she added.
Rawlings-Blake will expect the commission to seek input from independent experts in history, art, culture, and race in the city’s history, as well as representatives of the community.
The commission will also gather information on how other cities have handled similar questions regarding historic monuments – looking at Confederate-era statues in American cities, as well as elsewhere around the world.
Public input will be part of the commission’s evaluation.
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