‘It’s done’: Baltimore quickly removed every last one of its Confederate statues.

Many people in Baltimore woke to a surprise Wednesday morning: Their city removed all its Confederate monuments in the dead of night.

Workers load statues of Robert E. Lee and Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson onto the bed of a truck. Photo by Alec MacGillis/AFP/Getty Images.

Four monuments honoring the spirit of the confederacy — one of Robert E. Lee, another of Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, the Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument, and the Roger B. Taney Monument — were gone by 5:30 a.m., the Baltimore Sun reported.


As word of the statues' removal got out in the early hours of the morning, the mood in Baltimore turned jubilant.

Students gather to take photos where a Confederate monument once stood. Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images.

It wasn't just locals celebrating the news though.

The powerful images made waves online early Wednesday morning, as thousands applauded the long-overdue decision.

“It’s done,” said Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh.

The city council voted on Monday to remove the statues, The New York Times reported — but the speed at which it happened surprised many. And that was intentional.

They needed to come down," Pugh explained of the quiet overnight operation. "My concern is for the safety and security of our people. We moved as quickly as we could.”  

The events on Aug. 12 in Charlottesville, Virginia — as well as President Trump's response to those events —  no doubt pushed Baltimore to move fast.

"Trump accomplishment: the removal of Jackson and Lee after nearly 70 years in Baltimore," ProPublica's Alec MacGillis, a journalist who captured much of the removal in real time, wrote on Twitter.

An accomplishment, to be clear, Trump probably isn't too excited about.

The president was met with a fury of criticism blasting his statements in the wake of the Charlottesville terrorist attack, when an alleged white supremacist plowed his car through a crowd of anti-Nazi protesters, killing one woman and injuring at least 19 others.

Trump's first response was to blame "many sides" — not the white supremacists or neo-Nazis — for the violence. After coming forward with a scripted response on Monday, Aug. 14, more explicitly denouncing racism, the president then fielded questions at a head-spinning press conference at Trump Tower on Tuesday, Aug. 15. There, he seemingly backtracked on the previous day's remarks, defending the white supremacists in Virginia and railing against advocates demanding Confederate monuments be removed from public spaces.

Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images.

"I wonder: Is it George Washington next week, and is it Thomas Jefferson the week after?" Trump said of the monument removal. "You know, you really do have to ask yourself — where does it stop?"

Well, certainly not in Baltimore.

Trump may be fighting a losing battle in his defense of Confederate monuments, as a push to remove such statues gains steam across the South.

White supremacists rallied in Charlottesville over the college town's decision to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee. In the wake of Saturday's violence, the mayor of Lexington, Kentucky, wants to follow suit. Similar initiatives are taking shape in Dallas, Texas; Memphis, Tennessee; and Jacksonville, Florida, Reuters reported. In May, New Orleans removed its final Confederate monument.

A worker measures the Jefferson Davis monument in New Orleans in May. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

Removing statues can't fully remove the stains of slavery, of course, nor does it stomp out modern day white supremacy — the kind on display over the weekend, under the guise of "alt-right" or "white nationalist" labels.

But it's a symbolic gesture that reflects a very real desire to do better.

"It's major in its own right, but it's small when it comes to the bigger battle," said Derek Bowden, a photographer on the scene last night in Baltimore. "It's a bigger battle. This is a small victory."

True

$200 billion of COVID-19 recovery funding is being used to bail out fossil fuel companies. These mayors are combatting this and instead investing in green jobs and a just recovery.

Learn more on how cities are taking action: c40.org/divest-invest


Sir David Attenborough has one of the most recognized and beloved voices in the world. The British broadcaster and nature historian has spent most of his 94 years on Earth educating humanity about the wonders of the natural world, inspiring multiple generations to care about the planet we all call home.

And now, Attenborough has made a new name for himself. Not only has he joined the cool kids on Instagram, he's broken the record for reaching a million followers in the shortest period. It only took four hours and 44 minutes, which is less time than it took Jennifer Aniston, who held the title before him at 5 hours and 16 minutes.

A day later, Attenborough is sitting at a whopping 3.4 million followers. And he only has two Instagram posts so far, both of them videos. But just watch his first one and you'll see why he's attracted so many fans.

Keep Reading Show less
True

$200 billion of COVID-19 recovery funding is being used to bail out fossil fuel companies. These mayors are combatting this and instead investing in green jobs and a just recovery.

Learn more on how cities are taking action: c40.org/divest-invest


There are very few people who have had quite as memorable a life as Arnold Schwarzenegger. His adult life has played out in four acts, with each one arguably more consequential than the last.

And now Schwarzenegger wants to play a role in helping America, his adopted home, ensure that our 2020 election is safe, secure and available to everyone willing and able to vote.

Shortly after immigrating to America, Schwarzenegger rose up to become the most famous bodybuilder in history, turning what was largely a sideshow attraction into a legitimate sport. He then pivoted to an acting career, becoming Hollywood's highest paid star in a run that spanned three decades.


Keep Reading Show less

One night in 2018, Sheila and Steve Albers took their two youngest sons out to dinner. Their 17-year-old son, John, was in a crabby mood—not an uncommon occurrence for the teen who struggled with mental health issues—so he stayed home.

A half hour later, Sheila's started getting text messages that John wasn't safe. He had posted messages with suicidal ideations on social media and his friends had called the police to check on him. The Albers immediately raced home.

When they got there, they were met with a surreal scene. Their minivan was in the neighbor's yard across the street. John had been shot in the driver's seat six times by a police officer who had arrived to check on him. The officer had fired two shots as the teen slowly backed the van out of the garage, then 11 more after the van spun around backward. But all the officers told the Albers was that John had "passed" and had been shot. They wouldn't find out until the next day who had shot and killed him.

Keep Reading Show less