The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks American hate groups, has reported a significant increase in the number of hate organizations and their members in Maryland. The KKK has their state headquarters in Rosedale, Maryland. There are several neo-nazi groups in Baltimore and throughout the state. Four racist skinhead groups exist primarily in Silver Spring, Baltimore, as well as statewide. A Confederate group, League of the South, which embraces racist attitudes towards blacks and white separatism, is based in Clements, Maryland. These are just the tip of the iceberg.
These are many of these types of groups that descended on Charlottesville armed with assault rifles, brass knuckles, gas masks, shields, pepper spray, and body armor to engage in a “peaceful” demonstration. The focal point was the eventual removal of the Robert E. Lee statue in the renamed Emancipation Park, a result of a gutsy decision by local government. Several courageous counter-protestors resisted, only to be met with a car driven by a neo-nazi plowing into their midst, killing one and wounding 35, some seriously.
In addition to Virginia, the courage of several government organizations, local and statewide, to vote to remove confederate statues and symbols from public places in the face of such resistance cannot be understated. Governments in Republican strongholds such as Louisiana, South Carolina, Mississippi, North Carolina, and Kentucky have voted to remove confederate monuments and flags. In Maryland, monuments in Frederick, Annapolis, and most recently Baltimore, will eventually be removed, and local and state governments are moving to do so.
Yet in Talbot County, The Talbot Boys statue remains, carrying a Confederate flag on government grounds, a symbol of treason, racism, and white supremacy so prominently displayed in Charlottesville. The County Council, five Republicans from Easton, remains oblivious to a significant portion of the population, who regards the monument repugnant. Until they summon some spine and confront the racism that exists in the County (their base), we will need to look elsewhere in 2018.