For anyone thinking that the Talbot County Council vote last year to maintain the Talbot Boys Confederate monument on the county’s courthouse green would settle that issue once and for all, the last few months would show how wrong that perception would be.
Since that controversial decision was made, the County has seen the formation of organizations dedicated to either preserving it (Preserve Talbot History) or demanding it be moved to another location (Move Talbot’s Confederate Monument)
And as a result, the region has seen the appearance of lawn signs, numerous letters to editor articles, and ongoing social media debates about the Eastern Shore’s Civil War history and the interpretation of motives by those who fought in this tragic chapter in American history.
One person who has witnessed this ongoing controversy from the beginning has been Richard Potter. As president of the local chapter of NAACP, it was Richard and his colleagues who made the original request in 2015 that the Talbot Boys statue be removed and relocated to a more appropriate space.
Six years after the NAACP first met with the Talbot County Council, Richard has endured a number of setbacks, including the council’s votes in both 2016 and 2020 to maintain the monument’s status quo. Nonetheless, with the conviction that history and cultural change is on his side, Potter and his board members are doubling down on their opposition to the Talbot Boys location.
In fact, as the Spy discovered in our most recent conversation with Richard last week, there is a growing feeling of impatience with county leaders who continue to support the only Confederate memorial on public property in the entire state of Maryland. And this includes the NAACP’s opposition to a proposed “Unity” monument proposed by Talbot County Council member Laura Price, which Potter notes with irony, was never discussed with his organization to demonstrate a united consensus with all parties involved.
We caught up with Richard last week at the Spy studio for his appraisal of where things stand now and how he is concerned that a lack of action by Talbot County leaders might escalate the debate to a point where the county’s reputation is permanently damaged.
This video is approximately six minutes in length.