The Maryland Daughters of the Confederacy raised money from private donors and commissioned an allegorical statue which was erected in 1903 at Mount Royal and Lafayette Avenues. It shows a winged figure of Glory supporting a dying soldier whose flag droops from his right hand. The angelic figure holds aloft the wreath of glory, and the base of the monument bears the inscription GLORIA VICTIS (glory to the vanquished). Vandals defaced the monument with paint in 2015 after the Charleston church shooting and again in August of 2017. Those who fought on the other side were honored by a larger, complementary statue dedicated to the memory of Union Soldiers and Sailors in 1909 in Wyman Park and not yet defaced or removed.
The impious barbarity of desecrating a memorial to the fallen is depraved enough, but the complicity of the city government in achieving the perverted goals of the destroyers is profoundly disheartening. A defining trait of the English is a sense of fair play. Abide by the rules, and when the contest is over, it’s over, even if the winner cheated. Not so in third-world countries. Not so in Afro-Baltimore.
And believe me, it’s not over yet. Friends who still live in the city are deeply distressed by the loss of the monuments but feel helpless. “The statues were being vandalized,” they say. “The city couldn’t protect them.” Well, the Women’s statue wasn’t vandalized, beyond a small amount of the usual degenerate graffiti on the granite base. And the large, beautiful Francis Scott Key monument has been splashed with paint, as has a dear little statue in Patterson Park of two children holding a copy of the Star-Spangled Banner. Maybe it’s just too late to save anything. Maybe Baltimoreans have simply lost the will to keep their heritage.
Meanwhile, around the Inner Harbor, expensive condominiums are rising above the skyline. The very rich don’t care about the past, or about inconvenient liberties of ordinary people such as the rights to self-defense, free association, and free speech. They are embarrassed by the passionate words of James Ryder Randall:
Thou wilt not yield the Vandal toll,
Thou wilt not crook to his control,
Better the fire upon thee roll,
Better the blade, the shot, the bowl,
Than crucifixion of the soul,
Sadly, our Mother State did exactly that, under the compulsion of an occupying army, which arrested all its opponents and set up artillery on Federal Hill, aimed at the heart of Baltimore. After four miserable years, the northern scum went away. But now we’re occupied again.
And once again, we’re letting the Vandal rule.