ROCKVILLE – A committee of Civil Rights Leaders and historians have, according to Montgomery County Council President George Leventhal, reached a consensus on the controversial Confederate Cavalry statue in Rockville – though Leventhal said it is just a “first step” in determining what to do with the statue.
The committee assembled by Council President George Leventhal released its findings late Thursday afternoon after meeting Monday.
“It’s fair to say we are happy the county has decided to follow proper procedures regarding the statue and we hope the county will use this time to find an appropriate home for the statue so it isn’t put in storage,” said Nancy Pickard, the executive director of Peerless Rockville.
According to Leventhal, the group reached consensus on three important points:
$11. The story of Montgomery County’s participation in the Civil War must be told from all perspectives.
$12. The county must take some action on the statue.
$13. If a decision is made to move the statue an appropriate location with a willing recipient must be identified with broad public input.
Some members favored destroying the statue, according to Thursday’s release, but most favored moving or adding additional information to the statue. “The group realized and was in complete agreement that additional interpretive measures were necessary, regardless of whether the statue is moved,” Leventhal wrote in his summary of the committee’s meeting.
Those who opposed destruction of the statue, according to Leventhal’s release said, “Destroying or erasing historical artifacts pretends that the past does not exist or can somehow be changed to better suit our current sentiments.”
One unnamed committee member did not support destruction or moving the statue and said “The monument is an artifact of the past and a primary resource for the interpretation of the past. If it were moved the historical context would be lost.” This member also said, “The monument is currently being totally misinterpreted.”
Members of the committee included Anthony Cohen, the president of the Menare Foundation and Button Farm, Jim Loewen, a historian and sociologist, Linda Moran, assistant to the Rockville city manager, Nancy Pickard, the executive director of Peerless Rockville, Anita Powell, the president of the Montgomery County NAACP, Laurie-Anne Sayles, president of the African American Democratic Club of Montgomery County, and Susan Soderberg, a historian.
Those who would acquiesce to moving the monument, but not placing it in storage said “It is an important vestige of our city and county history and a unique historical artifact of its time.”
The county apparently paid to have the monument cleaned after it was defaced earlier this week and is currently taking bids to move it with estimates ranging from $20,000 to $100,000.