Petition Asks Historical Marker be Removed from Downtown Salisbu - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Petition Asks Historical Marker be Removed from Downtown Salisbury

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Marker commemorating John Henry Winder outside the Old Wicomico County Courthouse in Salisbury. (Photo: WBOC) Marker commemorating John Henry Winder outside the Old Wicomico County Courthouse in Salisbury. (Photo: WBOC)

SALISBURY, Md.– A petition is circulating to remove a historical marker of a Confederate general from downtown Salisbury.

The marker commemorates John Henry Winder, a general in the army of the Confederate States of America during the American Civil War. Born in Somerset County in 1800, Winder commanded all of the military prison camps of the Confederacy. The marker stands outside the Old Wicomico County Courthouse.

James Yamakawa, leader of Showing Up for Racial Justice, or SURJ, created the petition. Yamakawa says the history of the land it stands on plays a significant role in why it must be removed.

Before the Old Wicomico County Courthouse existed, the Byrd Tavern was located in this area. The Byrd Tavern was known as a place where slaves were bought and sold. Also, in 1931, a young black man named Matthew Williams was lynched by a mob in a tree just outside of the courthouse.

Yamakawa says he believes the marker should be removed, not to erase history, but to respect the painful reminder of that area’s history.

“It’s more about the image,” Yamakwa said. “This is a sign for a Confederate general in charge of prisons for the Confederacy in shouting distance from a place where a man was lynched and a place where slaves were bought and sold. That says something."

Kisha Holcomb, a Salisbury resident, does not agree with those who want the sign removed. 

"I don't know why they want to have it moved because that'd be like basically erasing history," she said. 

In response to the petition imploring the marker’s removal, a counter petition has been created to keep the marker in its place.

Yamakawa says he will turn the petition over to the Wicomico County Council once it gets the signatures he feels are needed.

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