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Maryland student wants Taney statue removed from Annapolis State House

In the midst of growing debate over the Confederate flag's presence in South Carolina, a college student wants to call attention to legislators and state leaders to remove similar symbols in Maryland.

Colin Byrd, a 22-year-old senior at the University of Maryland, College Park, released an online petition Sunday to have the Roger Taney statue removed from the grounds of the State House in Annapolis. Byrd also seeks to continue the pursuit to have Maryland's football stadium renamed.

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A portion of the petition reads: "Structures erected in honor of Roger Taney and Curley Byrd are symbols of racial hatred with no place in our government, and, in the wake of the massacre in Charleston by a racist who drew inspiration from symbols of slavery and segregation, it's time to put these symbols behind us, accelerate our healing, and have Maryland embrace unity and respect for human rights rather than division and white supremacy."

The petition also highlights the Dred Scott decision and mentions that Chief Justice Taney declared "that only white persons could be citizens of the United States."

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Nine African-Americans were massacred during a prayer group meeting last week by a white gunman in Charleston, S.C. Leaders there have called for the Confederate flag to be removed from the State House.

Byrd is among the group of students who launched a campaign to change the name of the school's football stadium. The stadium is named after former university president H.C. "Curley" Byrd. He served as the university's president for nearly two decades until 1954 and also ran an unsuccessful campaign for governor. Byrd supported "separate but equal" racial segregation.

The Student Government is in support of the name change and Colin Byrd — not related to the former school president — said he will use other networks he is associated with, like the Black Student Union and the NAACP student group, to gain support for the petition.

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