On Day of Charlottesville Violence, Kentucky Mayor Takes Aim at 2 Confederate Monuments

by | August 14, 2017

By Beth Musgrave

Mayor Jim Gray released a video Sunday further explaining his decision to move two Confederate statues from the lawn of the former Fayette County courthouse on Main Street.

Gray announced Saturday he was going to ask the Lexington city council to support a petition on the matter. That petition would go to a state military monuments commission that must approve moving the statues of John Hunt Morgan and John C. Breckinridge. Gray's announcement came on the same day that one person was killed and at least 19 were injured in Charlottesville, Va., after a violent skirmish that erupted around the removal of a Confederate statue there.

In the video, Gray said he made the decision only after careful consideration and hearing from people who both supported keeping the statues and those who demanded their removal.

Lexington honors history. But that history must be accurate, he said.

The statues of Hunt Morgan -- a Confederate general -- and Breckinridge -- the last Confederate Secretary of War -- also stand on the same ground that was once one of the largest slave markets in the South, Gray said.

"It's just not right for us to continue to honor these Confederate men who fought to preserve slavery on the same ground that men, women and even children were once sold into a life of slavery," Gray said.

Gray said he is recommending the statues be moved to Veterans Park in southeast Lexington near a war memorial there. Two new monuments honoring Kentucky's Union history will also be added, he said in the video posted on Facebook.

(c)2017 the Lexington Herald-Leader (Lexington, Ky.)