BALTIMORE, Maryland- The statue of Taney County’s namesake has been removed in Baltimore. The Missouri county’s website says they were officially organized on January 4, 1837, and named in honor of Roger Brooke Taney, the fifth Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.
Taney, a former slaveowner, wrote the Supreme Court majority opinion in the Dred Scott case that declared all blacks, both slave and free, were not and could never become citizens of the United States.
The writers of the Constitution believed that blacks “had no rights which the white man was bound to respect; and that the negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit. He was bought and sold and treated as an ordinary article of merchandise and traffic, whenever profit could be made by it, ” Taney wrote in the opinion.
Many think the landmark decision set the groundwork for the Civil War.
There is no record of Taney ever visiting the Ozarks and he evidently has no ties here and the county was named 22 years before the Dred Scott ruling. It is unclear why the late chief justice was popular in Missouri.
Workers removed the 145-year-old statue outside the Maryland State House shortly after midnight Friday. Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, a Republican, said the events in Charlottesville caused him to change his mind and advocate the likeness be taken down.
The Maryland State House Trust board voted Wednesday to remove Taney’s statue, the latest in a national rush to eliminate pro-slavery and Confederate memorials from public spaces. President Trump has decried the actions as foolish.
Taney County is a county located in the southwestern portion of the U.S. state of Missouri, Branson is its most well-known city.