U of L and city to remove Confederate monument

By on April 29, 2016

By Sam Draut–

City workers began dismantling the highly controversial Confederate monument on the north end of U of L’s Belknap campus Friday. The 70-foot monument faces north and commemorates Confederate soldiers who fought in the Civil War. Completed in the 1895, the monument has stood for 120 years on Third Street, but will be relocated.

U of L President James Ramsey said the time was right for the monument to be taken down and followed “the example of civil rights leaders.” Though the statue is not owned by U of L, campus and city officials worked together for the removal of the monument. Ramsey said there was movement from faculty and staff in the past year to begin the process.

U of L’s Diversity Committee of faculty, students and staff listed the statue as one of their highest priorities to improve on-campus diversity.

Ramsey said U of L has a “responsibility to our students to provide world class education and share our views we hold so dearly.”

“This monument has no place in this city,” Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said. “It is a testament to our citizens that we can make this happen.”

Fischer said it was unclear of who owned the statue, but the university, city and state came together to remove it.

“It is another step of progress for everyone to come and feel welcome here in our city,” Fischer said. “There are reasons for this monument to not be here on public property.”

Until an appropriate historical location is selected, the monument will be held in storage. The statue was donated to the city by the Kentucky Woman’s Monument Association in 1895 to honor the Kentuckians who fought for the Confederacy.

After the statue is removed, the median in between second and third street will be replaced with a new lane to help traffic flow to the Speed Art Museum and campus access.

Last week, the Courier-Journal published an op-ed written by Pan-African Studies Chair Ricky Jones that demanded the removal of the monument. Jones said he and other on-campus officials have worked for 20 years to remove the statue.

Photos by Sam Draut & Sarah Rohleder

This story will be updated. 

About Sam Draut

2 Comments

  1. Ralph Ware

    April 30, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    You know, I’m just about ready to argue that the most disturbing reminder of Slavery in this country are Black people, themselves. Not only that but they threaten my serenity and make me feel unsafe. Shouldn’t we, then, remove them to somewhere to be named later? Wouldn’t we be better off expunging our society of this symbol of human depravity? Slavery, I mean.

  2. Bryce

    May 3, 2016 at 8:49 pm

    It seems to me that whoever motions to bring the statue back out of storage risks being labeled a racist. I have actually walked up to the statue in my time as a student. It says “To the rank and file of the Armies of the South,” in other words, the soldiers. The University is putting the blame for Slavery on the wrong people. The CSA Army wasn’t responsible for Slavery any more than the US Army was responsible for the War in Vietnam. Soldiers are victims of political forces of which they often barely comprehend; the blame should always rest on the Governments, and indeed it would rest rightly so on the treasonous Southern Governments, (and their flags if you insist.)

    This, on the other hand, is a spit in the face for Americans who served in the military, including my own ancestors, one Blue one Gray, just because one of them happened to fight for a nation who’s politics (which he may or may not necessarily have entirely agreed with,) our current generation doesn’t like. Meanwhile, they conveniently completely ignore that the North was practically as racist, and only went along with Emancipation because Slavery got in the way of winning the war, and the only logical thing to do with the Slaves was to free them. Forward thinking indeed.

    This era of political hand waving and correctness is just depressing for me.

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