Early Wednesday morning in Baltimore, Maryland, a 106-year-old statue of lawyer and poet Francis Scott Key, who penned what would become the lyrics to the national anthem, was vandalized with paint.
The Baltimore Sun reports that it was “exactly 203” years ago that Key wrote The Star-Spangled Banner and now the statue honoring him was splashed with red paint and spray-painted with the words “racist anthem.” There were other messages on the walkway surrounding the statue and fountain, including “slave owner” and “blood on his hands.” Words from his poem extended to the sidewalk: “No refuge could save/ Hireling or slave/ From terror of flight/ Or gloom of grave.”
Baltimore Police have no suspects and there is no footage of the crime.
In 1999, the city spent $125,000 to restore the cracked and broken monument and is now trying to figure out how much cleaning this mess up is going to cost taxpayers:
The gold leaf will likely need to be removed and replaced, said Eric Holcomb, executive director of the city’s Commission for Historical and Architectural Preservation. The city will submit an insurance claim once the cost is determined, he said.
This act of vandalism comes a few weeks after the oldest Christopher Columbus statue in the United States, which was erected in Baltimore 225 years ago, was damaged by a man in a black hoodie wielding a sledgehammer. A week prior to that incident, the city had removed three Confederate monuments around town.
Below is video by The Sun getting mixed public reaction on this latest act of vandalism: