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Louisville To Remove Long-Standing Confederate Monument

The Confederate monument in Louisville, Kentucky

A Confederate monument that has stood on the grounds of the University of Louisville in Kentucky since 1895 is scheduled to be removed.

The tall, obelisk monument with stone statues of soldiers honors Kentuckians who died for the Confederacy in the Civil War. But after a Confederate flag-loving white supremacist murdered nine black parishioners in a Charleston, South Carolina, church in June 2015, symbols of the confederacy on public property, including the Confederate flag, have come under scrutiny, and many have been removed.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and University of Louisville President James Ramsey announced the monument's removal on April 29.

"The stain of slavery and racism that this monument represents for many, many people has no place in a compassionate, forward-thinking city," Fischer said, according to the Courier-Journal.

"It's time for us to move this monument to a more appropriate place," Ramsey said, according to the Associated Press.

On April 21, Ricky Jones, a professor of Pan-African Studies at the University of Louisville, wrote an op-ed in the Courier-Journal advocating for the monument's removal.

"Today, 121 years later, I am nearing my 20th year at the university," Jones wrote. "For 20 years, I have walked by that towering granite and bronze eyesore glorifying the nadir of America’s past.

"For 20 years, I have listened to cries for its removal. For 20 years, we have been plagued by confusion, compromises, excuses and half measures. One hundred twenty-one years is too long. Twenty years is too long. Twenty more weeks is too long. We’ve waited long enough. It's time for the statue to go."

But there has been some pushback against removing the monument. Republican Congressional candidate Everett Corley said he plans to file a lawsuit petitioning the statue's removal.

"It is a political version of book burning," Corley told the Courier-Journal on May 1. "And the fact is, I'm not in favor of book burning."

But not everybody feels as strongly about the monument as Corley.

"It is a part of history, but I get what people say they don't agree with it because it represents a time when African Americans were oppressed," Reagan Roy, a senior at duPont Manual High School who plans to attend the University of Louisville, said. "I never looked twice at it, actually. Now that I know everything about it, I agree with it being removed." 

City officials have not yet determined where the statue will be moved to.

Sources: Courier Journal (2) (3), Associated Press / Photo Credit: Bedford/Wikipedia

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