The construction of the Talbot Boys Confederate Memorial at the County Courthouse in Easton in 1914 and its subsequent removal 108 years later mirrors the arc of race-based thinking on Maryland’s Eastern Shore over this time period. 

Join Bill as he unravels the factors that prompted this transition as reflected in the history of the rise and fall of the Talbot Boys statue. 

The pre-WW I period marked the zenith of racism in the nation. Especially in the South, this period saw the institutionalization of segregation and the utilization of extra-legal means, such as lynching, to insure the maintenance of the racial order. Not coincidentally, throughout the South memorials to the Confederate lost cause appeared, often in the form of statues of Rebel soldiers. Talbot County was not immune to this pattern of activity as a memorial to those county residents who fought for the Confederacy – the Talbot Boys – was constructed on the Courthouse lawn in Easton. A century later the statue, one of the last in the South still standing on public grounds, was dismantled, the result of a decade of agitation on the part of African American residents and their white allies who demanded the erasure of all vestiges of the old racial order.

What to Expect:

From this one-session course, you will gain an understanding of the thinking of Southern whites that prompted the construction of Confederate memorials, including the Talbot Boys memorial in Talbot County.  Through this look at history, you will also gain further understanding of the social-economic changes, both nationally and locally, that prompted the eventual removal of the memorial.

Feedback from Bill’s past courses:

“The class was very good! He speaks loudly and clearly and had good photos, anecdotes, facts, sense of humor, and a genuine interest in the material. I’d take another class with him. Not sure how that Star thing works but I’m giving him five stars!”

“Dr. Messner is a remarkable Talbot County asset … and a brilliant historian.  Please encourage him to provide more classes to the Chesapeake Forum menu of offerings!”

“Love Bill’s classes!  He has an engaging way of drawing people in (at least in the room) and everyone seems to enjoy learning from Bill and the give and take of learning from one another!  We need Bill back!”

HYBRID course at the Easton Family YMCA (choose to participate in person, or through Zoom, or recording) | 1 session | Tuesday | Nov 14 | 1 – 2:30 pm | $20

Bill Messner 2

William Messner, Ph.D.

A historian by training, Bill Messner served as the president of three higher education institutions over a 30-year period. Since retiring to the Eastern Shore, he has delved into the history of the region and published a series of journal articles regarding the African American population and its path from slavery to freedom in the latter part of the 19th century.

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