The history of the statues and where they are placed
LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – The Urban County Council vote on the future of two confederate statues outside the former Fayette County courthouse. The council spoke unanimously Thursday voting to move the statues elsewhere, but who are the two men memorialized in stone, and do they deserve that honor?
There has been a lot of talk about these two statues here in downtown Lexington on Cheapside the past week. people want them moved, but the real question is who are these two men? What are their history? As I spoke with people downtown Lexington, most of them tell me they have no idea.
“People talk about history and they don’t want to remove our history so lets start with why these monuments were actually erected.”
The John C. Breckenridge memorial was erected in 1887, but originally in a different spot. A simple read of some of the signs downtown reveals Breckenridge was the 14th Vice President of the United States and a Confederate General during the Civil War. He campaigned on a pro-slavery platform and demanded federal intervention to protect slaveholders.
John Hunt Morgan’s statue was erected in 1911. The Confederate General’s grandfather was one of Lexington’s founders. The Civil War hero was also a slave owner.
The reason most people say they’re upset about the statues has to do with where they’re placed.
Where the Fifth Third Pavilion stands today is Central Kentucky’s former slave auction site, and on the courthouse lawn stood the whipping post where slaves were punished.
“Why in Lexington did we pick the center of the slave trade to put this type of statue here? Why did we pick where the whipping post was where black people were whipped.”
“I think if you look at Europe now, you will never find a statue of Adolf Hitler in Germany, not one ever, why do we have these here?”
Instead, some people say it’s really compassionate, honest historical figures who deserve statues.
“A person of the people, someone who is compassionate and honest and understanding and really puts their whole heart into good causes and good people and intention.”
While the council has voted to move these statues final approval must come from the state’s Military Heritage Commission.