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Maryland panel approves contract to build Tubman, Douglass statues for State House

January 25, 2019

A project to erect statues of Harriet Tubman and Frederick Douglass in the Maryland State House is moving forward two years after it was launched by Democratic legislative leaders, despite questions over the contracting process.

Maryland’s Board of Public Works unanimously approved a single-source contract Wednesday for the design and construction of statues of the famed abolitionists who escaped slavery.

The proposal, which Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) and House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) submitted in 2016, was intended to mollify opponents of the statue of segregationist Roger B. Taney that at the time was on State House grounds.

Taney was the U.S. chief justice who wrote the pro-slavery Dred Scott decision in 1857. His statue was removed from the State House complex at the urging of Gov. Larry Hogan (R) and Busch after the deadly unrest at a rally in Charlottesville in 2017, in which white supremacists ­defended Confederate memorials.

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