Johns Hopkins Denies Room to Confederate Group
Breaking with a 20-year tradition, Johns Hopkins University has refused to rent a meeting room for use by several Confederate groups who sponsor the annual birthday celebration of Generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson held at Baltimore's Lee-Jackson Memorial near the JHU campus. The event is usually attended by uniformed re-enactors representing both Union and Confederate soldiers and the room had been used for refreshments following the event.
University spokesman Dennis O'Shea said the school had received several complaints last year following the ceremony. "We are not required to rent a room to anyone who asks. In this case, we didn't feel it was appropriate to have the Confederate battle flag carried across our campus."
The celebration will go as scheduled on Jan. 17 at 11 a.m., according to G. Elliot Cummings, adjutant of the Col. Harry W. Gilmor Camp #1388, Sons of Confederate Veterans. His camp and the Maryland Division of the United Daughters of the Confederacy sponsor the event each year.
Cummings said his organization had not re-contacted the university about the rental issue but had encouraged those offended by the action to write or call the university. He said he had no difficulty in obtaining permits from the city to use the park.
The event has never been canceled because of weather, Cummings said. It includes a parade of re-enactors followed by a brief ceremony at the statue. The bronze memorial of Lee and Jackson, each astride a horse, was sculpted by Laura Fraser and dedicated in 1948.
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