2022 | Government

County Council approves resolution to remove Newlands’ name from Chevy Chase water fountain

Officials denounce white surpremacist who founded Chevy Chase

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The Montgomery County Council unanimously passed a resolution Tuesday that aims to remove a white supremacist’s name from the grounds of a memorial fountain in Chevy Chase.

Council Vice President Evan Glass, along with Council Members Andrew Friedson and Will Jawando, co-sponsored the resolution, which calls for removing Francis G. Newlands’ name from the water fountain and grounds in Chevy Chase Circle.

U.S. Sens. Ben Cardin (D) and Chris Van Hollen (D), along with Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Takoma Park), have sponsored a similar resolution in Congress.

Newlands was a former U.S. senator from Nevada who founded Chevy Chase in both Maryland and Washington, D.C., around the 1890s. According to historical accounts, Newlands was a white supremacist, sought to prevent African Americans from voting and also prevented anybody who wasn’t white from moving to Chevy Chase.

He also wrote in various publications that called for expelling African Americans from the United States and advocated for “White Plank” policies that would only allow immigration policies for white people entering the country.

The resolution is part of multiple actions the council is taking to remove names of people from public spaces (streets, grounds and other similar locations) who held beliefs contrary to what current elected officials and community members in Montgomery County believe regarding race, diversity and inclusivity. 

“Montgomery County is one of the most diverse communities in the United States and we celebrate that every day,” Glass said in a prepared statement. “All residents should feel a sense of inclusion and connection, not alienation, when they travel around our beautiful community. The legacy of hatred, bigotry, antisemitism and racism has no place here.”

His colleagues, including Jawando, agreed.

“Sen. Newlands instituted segregation in the developments in and around Chevy Chase, and sought to strip voting rights from people of color,” Jawando said in a prepared statement. “I look forward to the day when the plaque on the memorial constructed in his honor is removed and more worthy residents are honored in his place.”

Steve Bohnel can be reached at steve.bohnel@bethesdamagazine.com