People react to Jefferson Davis statue removal

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) — State leaders have been debating the fate of the Jefferson Davis statue in the Capitol Rotunda for more than a week.

And people on the street have their share of opinions too, everywhere from social media to their favorite restaurant.

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“It’s like a no-brainer to me,” says Katima McMillan.

It’s been a debate for years. A couple years ago it came up and the state decided to leave it with some minor changes. Cultural shifts are
changing that.

“We’re way past time to get rid of ’em,” says Robert Jenkins.

Some don’t understand why the confederate leader was put there to begin with, in 1936.

“I just feel like there’s so many other people that’s a part of our
history, that’s a part of Frankfort’s history that could be in place of
somebody who really wasn’t for us, for the people,” says McMillan.

But others say we can’t erase our history, so why are we trying?

“It’s the history of our country, what we went through,” says Irving Whicker.

It’s a divisive issue.

“We can preserve history that’s why we have the archives. They can go
to a place where people can go and personally look into their history,” suggested McMillan.

On our Facebook post, people were split with what they thought.

People commenting, “Stop trying to erase history! Our heritage, culture,
etc. is built on both good and bad decisions. We must learn from our
past.”

While others counteracted that, “Statues don’t teach history. Statues
glorify people in history. I don’t know Jefferson Davis but if he’s a
slave owner, trader or killer, statue be gone!”

“He enslaved human beings. He rebelled against the United States of
America. He is a symbol of the confederacy that might still have me in
chains,” says Historic Properties Advisory Commission member, Cathy Thomas.

“I’m a descendant of Jefferson Davis. I got a problem with taking down
a man history made. I’d like to have it here on my farm,” says Whicker.

When the commission voted to remove it the governor released a
statement saying,

“Today has been a historic day in the Commonwealth. Pursuant to my request, the Historic Properties Advisory Commission met and, in a bipartisan vote, voted to remove the Jefferson Davis statue from our Rotunda. It was past time for this vote and for this action. But what it will mean is that we get a little closer to truly being Team Kentucky that every child who walks into this Capitol feels welcome, and none of them have to look at a symbol and a statue that stands for the enslavement of their ancestors. Today is a move toward showing that everybody is welcome in this building and that our government should work for the betterment of every single Kentuckian that we have systematic issues that we must address, but that now is the time to truly move forward, to truly make progress and to show that Team Kentucky includes every single Kentuckian.”

“Hopefully we, Kentucky, becomes more progressive and more inclusive,” says Jenkins.

Senator Chris McDaniel has proposed the statue be replaced with Master Chief Petty Officer Carl Brashear, the first African-American master diver in the U.S. Navy.

A board member Friday suggested former Attorney General John Marshall Harlan.

Governor Beshear has promised a “robust debate” on what’s next.

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Christy Bollinger joined the ABC 36 news team as a reporter in March 2018. Christy comes from a little western Kentucky town called Cadiz. She graduated from Western Kentucky University in May 2017 with degrees in Broadcast Journalism and Criminology. Christy is thrilled to be working at her dream job in her home state. She is passionate about storytelling and you can see her weekdays on ABC 36 News at 5 and 6 p.m. She's covered everything from visits from the sitting president and vice president, to high-profile murder cases. When not chasing stories, Christy loves nothing more than being at the beach and says life is just better with sand between your toes and waves crashing at your feet. She is also a big animal lover. She's a fur momma and her mini-Australian Shepherd, Milly, standard Australian Shepherd, Bennie, and her Maine Coon, Cheeto, are the loves of her life. Christy encourages you to send her any story ideas you may have. Find her on Facebook at Christy Bollinger ABC 36, tweet her @ChristyB_news, or email her at CBollinger@wtvq.com.