Locals react to decision to move Confederate statues

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ)- In Lexington, Mayor Jim Gray released a statement in response to the violence in Chancellorsville, saying,”I am taking action to relocate the confederate statues at the historic courthouse. We have thoroughly examined this issue, and heard from many of our citizens. The tragic events in Charlottesville today have accelerated the announcement I intended to make next week. On Tuesday I will ask the council to support Lexington’s petition to the Kentucky Military Heritage Commission, a required next step. Details to come.”

People in Lexington are reacting to mayor gray’s statement, both agreeing and disagreeing.

Confederate statues stand in Cheapside park, near the old Fayette County Courthouse, but they may not be there for long.

Mayor Jim Gray is moving them to a new location and the Lexington NAACP agrees.

President Adrian Wallace released a statement saying, “The Lexington NAACP fully supports the removal of all confederate monuments in the public square of Lexington.”

An arts review board compiled of concerned citizens commissioned by Mayor Jim Gray concluded that the statues located at the old courthouse should be moved and the Mayor has now agreed to do so.

Mayor Gray released a video on Youtube saying though the statues won’t be at Cheapside Park anymore, they’ll be moved to Veterans Park and placed with two other monuments that honor the Union effort.

In the video, Mayor Gray explains why he says moving the statues from downtown is the right thing to do.

Mayor Jim Gray: “Before the Civil War, Cheapside was one of the largest slave auction sites in the south. Historians say from the 1820s until the Civil War, Lexington was one of America’s largest slave markets. So let’s think about it. It’s just not right that we would continue to honor these Confederate men who fought to preserve slavery on the same ground as men, women and even children were once sold into a life of slavery.”

Even so, some people in Lexington disagree. Many people walking downtown are unaware of plans to move the statues.

One man wanted to remain anonymous, but says he has no problem with where the statues stand and thinks removing them from downtown could cause bigger issues.

“To remove these statues, I really do feel like is to remove part of our history and our culture and then what goes up in their place, no matter what goes up, I feel like it’s going to further racial tension.>

The organization ‘Together We Will Bluegrass’ is hosting a vigil in solidarity with the citizens and law enforcement that died in Charlottesville. They say, in part,

Like Charlottesville, Lexington is home to our state’s university and important history.

We share a history of white racism and statues of Confederate leaders whose memories both black Kentuckians and a growing number of white Kentuckians urges us to reconsider.

The organization says they congratulate Mayor Gray in his decision to move the statues.

The vigil will take place Monday at 7 PM at the courthouse square.


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