Passersby in Rockville, Maryland, might wonder what's inside the big wooden box in front of the courthouse. If they knew, they'd probably be disappointed—it's a 102-year-old bronze statue of a Confederate soldier.

Montgomery County officials, who are trying to remove the statue from public property, put it in a box after someone spray-painted "Black Lives Matter" on it last weekend. "We're doing this on a temporary basis until things cool down," County Executive Isiah Leggett told Fusion.

Leggett said that the county spent $10,000 removing the paint from the statue and adding security cameras and lighting. "I don't think that we should vandalize some portions of our history," said Leggett, the county's first African-American executive.


Because the statue has a historic designation, it can only be removed upon a vote of the Rockville Historic District Commission, which is scheduled to consider the issue next month. Until then, the box will remain, with the head and shoulders of the cavalryman peeking above it.

Here's what it looked like before the box went up:


"Stick it in a box" is the latest in a long list of actions officials have considered to remove or hide confederate symbols since a white man gunned down 9 black people in a Charleston church earlier this summer. See also: taking down flags, hiding statues behind "vegetation," and digging up graves.

Casey Tolan is a National News Reporter for Fusion based in New York City.