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 Post subject: O/T Marine Controversy: USCG Cutter Taney Has Name Removed
PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2020 6:46 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
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Location: Somewhere east of Prescott, AZ along the old Santa Fe "Prescott & Eastern"
Not directly related to rail preservation yet--but probably coming soon......

My contacts in Baltimore have informed me, via Facebook and other venues, that under cover of darkness and without official announcement, the stern name of the preserved United States Coast Guard cutter Taney, the last surviving warship which survived the attack on Pearl Harbor, which was retired to display years ago in Baltimore's Inner Harbor, has been painted over, apparently by current ship custodians Historic Ships In Baltimore, a merger of the USS Constellation Museum and the Baltimore Maritime Museum. (There is no news media reporting on the story yet.)

The controversy? The cutter was named after Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, a Marylander who presided over the noted Dred Scott v. Sandford ruling of 1857 that stated African-Americans could not be considered citizens and that Congress could not prohibit slavery in the territories of the United States. (Although, technically, it was named after a predecessor ship that carried his name.)

UPDATE: From an unverified Facebook post from a typically trustworthy source:
"[On June 26th] the board of directors of the parent organization that operates Historic Ships in Baltimore, Living Classroom Foundation, voted unanimously to change Taney's name following a vote by HSB's advisory board made Wednesday. LCF plans on forming a committee with the city and community organizations to choose a new name for the ship. Thurgood Marshall is a preferred name, as is Cutter 37."

Blog discussion from 2017: https://jayseaarchaeology.wordpress.com ... ter-taney/

Now, disregard for the moment whether or not the "un-naming" move is appropriate from a moral sense in 2020, or even just being done pre-emptively to prevent attacks of vandalism or worse upon the ship.

The ship in question is a registered National Historic Landmark, as are the other ships in its custody--the USS Constellation (an 1850s sloop which can be said to have helped protect the slave trade if we want to), the submarine Torsk, and the lightship Chesapeake. There is some rather heated discussion among marine preservationists online right now as to whether a National Historic Landmark can be renamed in this fashion without proper official USCG and National Register protocol. Further, although the cutter was decommissioned in December 1986 and turned over to the City of Baltimore, it's believed (although I have yet to see a specific citation) that the Coast Guard retains at least some control over the ship's status, allowing its painting as a Coast Guard ship still, and that if, to make up an example, the City of Baltimore were to attempt to scrap the vessel, the Coast Guard would retain the right to reclaim her and relocate her to another city.

While I'm waiting for the fecal matter to hit the propeller, so to speak, I now start to wonder when and how the current roving mob of "political correctness police" will come around to rail museums.
There are "Jim Crow" cars on display. There are at least three museums/operations distinctly Civil War-themed. Displays on Pullman porters, no matter how "politically correct," may be attacked by indignant activists who don't care that Pullman gave Blacks a way out of poverty, only "Whites keeping Blacks down."

I am NOT expecting mobs to come to a museum to burn down displays (although I would put nothing whatsoever past the current "witch hunt" mobs right now). However, it may be worth reconsidering certain exhibits as "attractive targets" for activists driven by agenda over history. Are you prepared to rebuke a nutcase that insists your museum "owes reparations" because your right of way was built in part with hired slaves? Or that the transit system that you preserve parts of was "systemic racism"?

It matters not how thin, or even deranged, their arguments may be. As we have seen, social media "mob justice" can advance a lie around the world before the truth has a chance to pull its pants and boots on.


Last edited by Alexander D. Mitchell IV on Mon Jun 29, 2020 2:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: O/T Marine Controversy: USCG Cutter Taney Has Name Remov
PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2020 8:18 pm 

Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 12:32 pm
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Location: Altadena, CA
Interesting. Not rail, obviously. And I’d argue not relevant to this site.


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 Post subject: Re: O/T Marine Controversy: USCG Cutter Taney Has Name Remov
PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2020 8:59 pm 

Joined: Sun Dec 28, 2014 11:12 pm
Posts: 153
Pretty sure that so long as the property in question isnt owned by the Federal Government, then the owners are free to do anything they want to it; even if it is listed on the National Historic Registry.



KevinKuzma wrote:
Interesting. Not rail, obviously. And I’d argue not relevant to this site.


Considering the other maritime topics on the forum - from a paddle-steamer to a rotting ocean liner, and also a battleship - then this one should be fine so long as it doesnt go crazy.


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 Post subject: Re: O/T Marine Controversy: USCG Cutter Taney Has Name Remov
PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2020 9:29 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 9730
Location: Somewhere east of Prescott, AZ along the old Santa Fe "Prescott & Eastern"
There is some debate going on in other forums as to whether the Coast Guard retains any ability or "right of first refusal" to do anything regarding the ship's ultimate fate (and would also be the same for the nearby lightship). The majority consensus seems to be the City of Baltimore owns title free and clear, and sublets it to whatever management foundation (in this case, Historic Ships of Baltimore, Inc.).

What seems to be agreed upon, though, is that whatever a registered Landmark or Historic Site is renamed, its official designation still applies. The apparent precedent is changing the name or boundaries of a site on the National Register in order to shed restrictive covenants or protection.


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 Post subject: Re: O/T Marine Controversy: USCG Cutter Taney Has Name Remov
PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2020 9:55 pm 

Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2018 3:51 pm
Posts: 208
Location: Ipswich, Mass., Phoenix, AZ
Years ago there was a serious (one of the volunteers was assaulting kids who camped on board) problem with a city which owned a WW2 submarine. The Navy took it back and re- donated it to Pittsburgh, you can see it on the Ohio River; so possibly the government still has a "string" on it.
Real question is: would this be a cause which would make them take it back?


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 Post subject: Re: O/T Marine Controversy: USCG Cutter Taney Has Name Remov
PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2020 9:57 pm 

Joined: Wed Feb 24, 2010 8:21 pm
Posts: 451
Location: Danbury, CT
The Navy does retain some authority on museum and memorial vessels, but I am not aware of the same for the Coast Guard. I am a USCG veteran of 12 years and a former employee of an aircraft carrier museum. The only former Navy vessels that do not fall into that category are those who like the Slater in Albany, were stricken from the list and sold or given to a foreign naval branch.

I am, as are many Coasties, familiar with and quite proud of the USCGC Taney’s history. It’s a sad moment for the USCG and those who served aboard. Yet, I am reminded that our own flagship, on which I served for a few years, was originally named for a brown shirt Nazi thug named Horst Wessel. Hitler named the ship in his honor and afforded him martyr status after he was shot by a communist in a fight over a prostitute. Eagle is a much better name. We still have some photographs, items, and the original name boards from her days as Horst Wessel, but they are displayed out of public view. I remember our trip to Bremerhaven in 2005. Our German Navy liaison officer was amazed to see these items and was impressed by the fact that we freely acknowledge her history as we do.

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 Post subject: Re: O/T Marine Controversy: USCG Cutter Taney Has Name Remov
PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2020 10:17 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 22, 2017 6:47 pm
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Location: Philadelphia, PA
USCGC Taney (WPG-37) was assigned to the inshore patrol in the Honolulu-Pearl Harbor area. As a Coast Guard Cutter, she was berthed at the USCG facility in Honolulu Harbor. However, the USCG had been incorporated in the USN.

On the morning of December 7, 1941, Taney did not have the duty, and was at her berth in Honolulu. Once the attack began, Taney fired upon any Japanese aircraft that were in range.

As it happened, the inshore patrol duty ship that morning was USS Ward (DD-139) which was alerted by coastal minesweeper USS Condor (AMc-14) of a periscope in a prohibited area, in which all US submarines were escorted. Later, Ward noted a periscope trailing between USS Antares (AKS-3) and a barge Antares was towing, as Antares and her tow were to pass through the antisubmarine net protecting Pearl Harbor. Ward went to general quarters and attacked the owner of the periscope, hitting the conning tower and sinking the sub. These were the first shots fired by USN in WWII.

However, Ward's Captain William Outerbridge, USN, was new to command (December 5, 1941) and his report was not passed to higher command. Thus, when Cdr Fuchida Mitsuo, IJN, arrived over Pearl Harbor a little over an hour later, the base was not on alert.

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 Post subject: Re: O/T Marine Controversy: USCG Cutter Taney Has Name Remov
PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2020 10:21 pm 

Joined: Mon Sep 28, 2015 12:30 am
Posts: 229
This is rather different than the USCGC Eagle, a war prize that obviously needed to be renamed.

The number of Americans aware of Roger B. Taney are nil. While far too few are aware of the USCGC Taney, it dwarfs the number of those aware of the ship's namesake. She has a proud history of protecting America and all her citizens during war and peacetime, regardless of things like race and religion.

It's wrong to erase her proud name even if the man she was named after wasn't deserving of the honor. Her name has a far greater link today to the vessel, the men (And probably a few women in her later years) that served aboard her, her various accomplishments protecting America's shoreline, and her exploits abroad during wartime than it does to her namesake that died 70 or so years before her launching.

You don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. Her history is one to be proud of, not one to be ashamed of and conceal. The greatest service they could do is attempt to utilize this asset in a brand new way to help educate visitors on the evils of racism, while still telling her story.

It would also be the best way to get back at Roger B. Taney rather than just painting over her name. Doing it this way just helps his link to a black day in our history become even more obscure to future Americans.

The old saying that those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it doesn't seem to mean much in today's climate. I feel sorry for future generations.


Last edited by LeoA on Mon Jun 29, 2020 1:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: O/T Marine Controversy: USCG Cutter Taney Has Name Remov
PostPosted: Sun Jun 28, 2020 11:12 pm 

Joined: Fri Dec 22, 2017 6:47 pm
Posts: 520
Location: Philadelphia, PA
Roger B. Taney (pronounced TAWney) was Secretary of the Treasury under President Jackson; hence, the naming of a Treasury-Class USCG Cutter for him.

In 1835, Jackson appointed Taney Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court, replacing John Marshall.

In 1857, Chief Justice Taney presided over the Supreme Court decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford, where the Court held that the US Constitution was not meant to include American citizenship for black people, whether enslaved or free.

Phil Mulligan


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 Post subject: Re: O/T Marine Controversy: USCG Cutter Taney Has Name Remov
PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2020 12:11 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
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Location: Somewhere east of Prescott, AZ along the old Santa Fe "Prescott & Eastern"
I'm waiting to hear what Taneytown, Maryland (on the former PRR from York, Pa. to Frederick, now part of the Walkersville Southern) does........


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 Post subject: Re: O/T Marine Controversy: USCG Cutter Taney Has Name Remov
PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2020 10:43 am 

Joined: Wed Feb 24, 2010 8:21 pm
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Location: Danbury, CT
LeoA wrote:
This is rather different than the USCGC Eagle, a war prize that obviously needed to be renamed.


Yes, I agree. However, it was recently brought to my attention by a friend with differing opinions on the subject that there are some folks out there who do not see a difference at all between the two. Both can be considered oppressors when viewed through some eyes. Right or wrong, it is a position that requires acknowledgement. It appears as though the vessel owners are taking preemptive action to avoid unwanted attention. While I do not agree with their decision, it may be a smart one. It seems as though people are running down a list of memorials, monuments, and statues right now. Grant and Lincoln aren’t even safe from scrutiny.

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 Post subject: Re: O/T Marine Controversy: USCG Cutter Taney Has Name Remov
PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2020 1:37 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
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Location: Somewhere east of Prescott, AZ along the old Santa Fe "Prescott & Eastern"
For anyone who can still find this subject at its new location here:

A blogpost defending the name change, by someone with a bit of "skin in the game":

https://jeannemorales.com/blogs-posts/n ... t-history/


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 Post subject: Re: O/T Marine Controversy: USCG Cutter Taney Has Name Remov
PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2020 11:53 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
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Location: Somewhere east of Prescott, AZ along the old Santa Fe "Prescott & Eastern"
The major Baltimore newspaper covers it, with no comments from those that are protesting the change:

https://www.baltimoresun.com/maryland/b ... story.html


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 Post subject: Re: O/T Marine Controversy: USCG Cutter Taney Has Name Remov
PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2020 1:50 pm 

Joined: Wed Feb 24, 2010 8:21 pm
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I do find it interesting that this topic was moved to railfanning. None of the other marine preservation themed off-topic discussions have been moved out of interchange as far as I can see. Just say’n.

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 Post subject: Re: O/T Marine Controversy: USCG Cutter Taney Has Name Remov
PostPosted: Fri Jul 10, 2020 5:39 pm 

Joined: Mon Oct 01, 2018 3:51 pm
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Location: Ipswich, Mass., Phoenix, AZ
I once worked with a brilliant Russian emigre. He had won a gold and two silver medals in free-style wrestling in three Olympics. When he left the Soviet Union they took his medals away and removed his name from the rosters. When he told me that I thought "How petty, how uselessly stupid". Now we're doing the same.
Taney was against slavery and freed his slaves. He tried to stop the war that he knew was coming. The USCGC Taney won glory and fame as the Taney, not as the Dredd Scott or anything else.
You can't change history.
Ned


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