A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Black leaders call on Bevin to remove statue of Jefferson Davis from Capitol Rotunda

By Tom Latek
Kentucky Today

Black leaders and lawmakers called on Gov. Matt Bevin to remove the statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis from the Capitol Rotunda in the State Capitol during a protest Wednesday.

“There is an elephant in the building,” said Raoul Cunningham, Kentucky president of the NAACP, “and we ask the Governor to remove the elephant.”

Sen. Gerald Neal, D-Louisville, urged other elected officials to give a strong, unequivocal statement “providing moral leadership in condemnation of racism, white supremacy, Nazism and other forms of bigotry.”

Rep. Reginald Meeks, D-Louisville, told the crowd that Bevin is concerned with revisionist history, as well he should be.

Rep. Reginald Meeks, D-Louisville, speaks out against the Jefferson Davis statue in the Capitol Rotunda. Several black leaders and lawmakers called for Gov. Matt Bevin to remove the statue during a protest Wednesday. (Kentucky Today Photo by Tom Latek)

“But like so many, he clings to the romantic, if morally bankrupt idea of a lost cause,” Meeks said. “The Governor’s call for concern is misplaced. The glorification of the lost cause is an immoral abomination on truth, honor, and the principles of Christianity.”

Sen. Gerald Neal, D-Louisville, urged other elected officials to issue a strong, unequivocal statement, “Providing moral leadership in condemnation of racism, white supremacy, nazism and other forms of bigotry.

“There is no doubt that Jefferson Davis was a white supremacist,” Neal said. “A destroyer of dreams, and a traitor to the cause of the great United States.”

Dr. Betty Sue Griffin of Danville wondered about the glorification of the Confederacy.

“The South lost – get over it,” she said. Her suggestion for the statue: “Roll him down the hall and take him over to the History Center, where I serve on the board. I’ll get him a place there.”

Dr. Gerald Smith, who chairs the Kentucky African American Heritage Commission, called for the removal of the statue. “Davis was a disloyal American, a cheap traitor, and the statue is a symbol of segregation and white supremacy.”

The Kentucky Democratic Party has also weighed in through spokesman Brad Bowman.

“We can’t stand for revisionist history, but what is socially and morally right. Davis was the president of an insurrection that supported enslaving other human beings and justified killed other Americans. There should be no room in the Capitol for such a statue.”

A request to Bevin’s office seeking response was not answered.

The 15-foot Confederate sculpture has been in the Capitol Rotunda for more than 80 years.

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One Comment

  1. Agia Sophia says:

    Either remove the statue of Davis, or add statues of Tojo, Hitler, and Bin Laden. After all, they waged war against the USA, too.

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