A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Lexington Cemetery trustees agree in principle to relocation of Breckinridge, Morgan statues

Lexington Cemetery trustees stepped up for the City of Lexington Monday, giving a conditional “yes” to accepting the John Hunt Morgan and John C. Breckinridge statues.

Before the decision is final, the city must fine-tune an agreement with the trustees.

Mayor Jim Gray, Police Chief Mark Barnard; Dr. C.B. Akins, pastor First Baptist Bracktown, representing the African-American Collaborative Coalition; and DeBraun Thomas, from Take Back Cheapside, formally asked the trustees to allow the City to move the statues, now located on Main Street near the Historic Courthouse, to the cemetery.

Both men are buried at the Cemetery, which is also home to the graves of Union and Confederate troops.

“We continue to move forward,” Gray said. “This was a good day. We are on the right side of history. Everyone is welcome here. And, as a city, we are illustrating how to move from controversy to solutions.”

The statues are now located near the site of Cheapside Auction block, which was a center of slave trading in Kentucky.

DeBraun Thomas said, “We’re not there yet, but this is one step closer toward our ultimate goal. We, as a community, have lifted our voices; our City Council has spoken; and our City government is going to bat for this cause.”

This decision is an opportunity for Lexington and for the Cemetery, Gray said. “All of the citizens of Lexington will be proud of the Cemetery for helping our City navigate through this issue.”

The next step is to continue to talk with the trustees about their remaining concerns and craft an agreement, Gray said.

“Then we move on to the Kentucky Military Heritage Commission,” Gray said. “And let me be clear: there is more work to do, and not a lot of time to get it done. We have days, not weeks to build our application to the Commission to get its permission to move them. And the details of the agreement with the Cemetery are a big piece of that application.

The commission’s next scheduled meeting is in November.

From LexingtonKy.gov

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