A Kentucky Confederate monument located near the University of Louisville campus will be moved. The obelisk-style tower has been in its present location since 1895 and has sparked many debates over whether it should be removed from its prominent location or not due to its association with civil rights abuses against African-Americans.
The monument honors Kentucky soldiers who fought and died for the Confederacy in the Civil War with a marker that reads it is dedicated to remembering the “rank and file of the armies of the South” and to “our Confederate dead.” The statue is 70-feet tall and has three bronze statues of Confederate soldiers. The Kentucky Woman’s Monument Association gave the monument to the city a few years after the Civil War ended.
Kentucky has little confederate history to recognize; that monument is a farce. https://t.co/q6TVYZChpT— Bryan Burns (@BryanBeeeee) April 21, 2016
The Blaze reports institutions and states have been rethinking whether to display Confederate symbols and monuments after the racially-motivated shooting last summer at the Emanuel AME church in Charleston, South Carolina.
University President James Ramsey and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer made the announcement Friday but have not given the new location, though there are reportedly four different possible places to move the monument, according to WDRB-TV. One of the potential locations is a Confederate cemetery.
Ramsey said the monument would be taken apart and cleaned before moving it to its new location.
“I don’t believe the women were making a political statement but were honoring those loved ones who died. It’s time for us to move this monument to a more appropriate place. We have a responsibility to our students to provide a world class education committed to the values we hold dear.”
Mayor Fischer said, “I recognize that some people say this monument should stay here because it is part of history, but I also appreciate that we can make our own history.”
He added, “The stain of slavery and racism that this monument represents for many people has no place in a compassionate forward-looking city.”
Reactions among university students to the news of the Kentucky Confederate monument being moved have been varied. Some students welcome the monument’s removal while others believe people are trying to “erase history.”
University of Louisville student, Caitlin Edwards, said, “You walk by it so many times you don’t even pay attention to it anymore. You get used to seeing it… In a way that is sad.”
Edwards said she does see “slavery” and “the blood the sweat and the tears of my ancestors” in the statue.
She added, “It’s not going to eliminate racism, of course, but it’s a great step in the right direction.”
The announcement of moving the Kentucky Confederate monument is cause to celebrate for Ricky Jones, professor of Pan-African studies at the university. He has been working to remove the statue since the late 1990s and said it has been a source of controversy for decades.
“I can’t tell you how happy I am. I think this statue being on the campus is somewhat akin to flying the Confederate flag over the (university’s) administration building. Let’s see the Confederacy for what it is, not some lost cause, it was a war about slavery. And that is fundamentally inhumane, so if that’s a part of Kentucky history, place it in a part of Kentucky where people still have those beliefs.”
Last week, Jones wrote an opinion piece in the Courier-Journal calling for the monument to be removed. He wrote the statue is a “towering granite and bronze eyesore glorifying the nadir of America’s past.”
According to city officials, once the Kentucky Confederate monument is moved, the memorial will be replaced with a new lane of Third Street to improve access to the Speed Art Museum and improve traffic flow.
[Photo by Dylan Lovan/AP]