Lexington mayor wants to remove Confederate statues after Charlottesville tragedy

16 August, 2017, 15:56 | Author: Chad Mckenzie
  • Tuesday's Lexington Council work session attracted a large crowd of citizens and media eepresentatives

Gray said he had planned to announce the decision next week but did so on Saturday because of what he called "the tragic events in Charlottesville", which he said "remind us that we must bring our country together by condemning violence, white supremacists and Nazi hate groups". The park in which the statue sits used to be named for the Confederate general, but was recently renamed Emancipation Park. They must be moved, as we wrote in June.

"You realize that you don't have a choice sometimes", Gray said.

Morgan fought for the Confederacy until his death in 1864; and Breckenridge, the U.S. Vice President under James Buchanan, was the only vice president ever to take up arms against the government of the United States.

Council members on Tuesday heard more than an hour of public comment from an overflow crowd in the council chambers on the proposal, with most supporting relocation of the statues.

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The proposed removal is not, as some assert, an effort to erase history.

As the Lexington Herald-Leader noted, it cost $400,000 to move Confederate statue off the University of Louisville campus in Louisville, Kentucky.

But, as nearly all who spoke to the council Tuesday said, retaining the statues of Morgan and Breckinridge on the lawn of the old courthouse is not the way to accomplish that.

Morgan, a Confederate general, is best known for "Morgan's Raid", a Southern incursion into the Union states of IN and OH IN 1863.

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The statue of Morgan, seated heroically upon a stallion (although he rode a mare in battle) was not erected until 50 years after the Civil War, the product of the "Lost Cause" movement to sanitize and romanticize the history of the pre-Civil War South, including slavery.

Gray goes on to explain that the statues now sit on land that used to be used for slave auctions, and notes that it's "not right" to have statues honoring men who supported slavery on those grounds.

"Moving these statues to give them deeper and broader historical context is to build on what we know to be true and on the values that are essential to a just an civil society", said the first speaker, Transylvania President Seamus Carey.

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