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The Office of Lt. Governor Boyd K. Rutherford

Lt. Governor Boyd K. Rutherford Proposes Panel to Recommend New Plaque Educating State House Visitors on Maryland’s Civil War History

ANNAPOLIS, MD—Lt. Governor Boyd K. Rutherford, the Executive Branch representative to Maryland’s State House Trust, today renewed his call for a panel to study and design a new plaque for display at the State House that accurately reflects Maryland’s history during the Civil War, when it was a divided state in the nation’s fight against slavery.

On the 155th anniversary of Juneteenth, which marks the final slaves freed from bondage more than two years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation, Rutherford again proposed that a panel consisting of representatives of the State House Trust, the Maryland Historic Trust, and the Maryland Archives is empowered to replace the recently removed Civil War Centennial Commission plaque with a new commemoration. 

The Civil War Centennial Commission plaque was recently removed from the State House rotunda following weeks of national events highlighting the racial inequality that remains present in America more than 150 years after the ratification of the 13th Amendment, abolishing slavery in the United States.

“As I have repeatedly stated, I want visitors to Maryland’s State House—itself a living museum and one of the most significant locations in the history of our state and nation—to understand that ours was a divided state, and that many Marylanders fought to maintain the inhuman system of slavery, America’s original sin,” Rutherford said. “There can be no shadow of a doubt that there was a right and a wrong side to our nation’s bloodiest chapter, and I believe that we as leaders have a responsibility to ensure our history is represented accurately and that we seriously heed the lessons of our past in order to build a better future. 

“To do so we must be willing to confront that past, as uncomfortable as it may be. Erasing history harms the work we must do and simply removing a plaque is insufficient to what this current moment in our history requires. I am certain that my colleagues on the State House Trust agree that it is time to finally have that long-overdue conversation on race relations, past, present, and future. We can and should do more to accurately represent Maryland’s Civil War history, the struggle of African Americans in our state, and the sincere attempts at reconciliation of our past generations, in our most historically significant institution.”