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Executive Kittleman orders removal of Confederate memorial outside of Circuit Courthouse

Executive Kittleman orders removal of Confederate memorial outside of Circuit Courthouse

August 22, 2017

Media Contacts:
Deidre McCabe, Director of Strategic Planning and Communications, 410-313-4023

ELLICOTT CITY, MD – Howard County Executive Allan H. Kittleman today announced that the Confederate memorial located outside the Howard County Circuit Courthouse in Ellicott City has been removed and will be donated to a local museum.

Kittleman ordered the removal of the memorial late Monday after completing the historic review process. Kittleman filed a request with the Historic Preservation Commission to take this step on Aug. 16 but the process required a five-day public notice period before a decision could be rendered. Immediately after receiving approval, Kittleman took steps to remove the memorial.

“It has become increasingly clear in recent weeks that memorials such as this are hurtful to many residents in our community and elsewhere,” said Kittleman. “Given these feelings and the tragedy in Charlottesville, I felt compelled to remove this memorial from public property.”

Kittleman said he believes the more appropriate place for the memorial is in a local museum, along with other artifacts and information on the Civil War. Preservation Howard County, an organization dedicated to saving Howard County’s rich history, supports moving the memorial to a museum. County Council Chair Jon Weinstein encouraged the Howard County Historical Society to add the memorial to its Civil War collection.

“We cannot and should not erase the past. We must learn from it,” said Kittleman. “A museum offers context for us and for future generations to better understand our shared history.”

Weinstein said removing the memorial will affirm the county’s commitment to ensuring public spaces are open and comfortable to all citizens and visitors. The events last week in Charlottesville, renewed the urgency in removing the memorial, he said.

“We can’t forget that this symbol and symbols like this represent hate and cause many people pain,” said Weinstein. “The monument is not representative of who we are as a community today and does not belong on grounds of a building that represents justice.”

According to Maryland Historical Trust records, the memorial was dedicated on September 23, 1948, at a time when Howard County had a commissioner form of government. Howard County Circuit Court Judge William Henry Forsythe Jr., whose father’s name is on the memorial, appears to have been responsible for accepting and placing the memorial on the grounds of the court house. No county officials played a role in the dedication. 

Kittleman will be available for comment by telephone after 6 a.m. To make arrangements, contact Press Secretary Andy Barth at 410-303-2039 or . Weinstein will be available for comment by telephone after 7 a.m. To make arrangements, contact Special Assistant Gary Smith at 410-459-8056 or .