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Historic Properties Advisory Commission calls special meeting over Jefferson Davis statue removal

Jefferson Davis Statue
Posted at 12:31 PM, Jun 11, 2020

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — The Historic Properties Advisory Commission will hold a special meeting on Friday to consider removing the statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis from the Kentucky Capitol rotunda.

The meeting came at the request of Gov. Andy Beshear. The meeting will be held via video teleconference due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Gov. Beshear believes now is the time to remove the statue.

"I just want to make the statement that I believe the Jefferson Davis statue is a symbol that divides us," Gov. Beshear said in a news conference last week. "Even if there are those who think it's a part of history there should be a better place to put it in historic context. Right now seeing so much pain across our state and across our country, can't we at least realize that in so many of our fellow Kentuckians – we talk about compassion in terms of COVID, we ought to have compassion for all pain – can't we understand that at the very least it is so hurtful to them and doesn't that justify it not sitting where it does right now? I don't think it should be in the Capitol rotunda."

Gov. Beshear said during his Thursday press conference that he expects a bi-partisan vote in favor of the removing the statue. If the vote goes through, the administration will begins steps of taking it down.

Gov. Beshear added that if the commission does not act to remove the statue, he will look at his options to unilaterally remove it.

Attorney General Daniel Cameron agrees the Jefferson Davis statue should be moved.

"Jefferson Davis is our past, but he didn't define our future, Abraham Lincoln did," said Cameron in a statement sent to LEX18 on Friday. "I think the Davis statue should be relocated, but it is up to the Historical Properties Advisory Commission. If the commission decides to replace it, I can think of many other historical figures more deserving of a permanent home in our Capitol."

Kentucky State Senator Chris McDaniel is prefiling a bill to replace the statue with Carl Brashear, a Kentucky African American Navy sailor and master diver who died in 2006.

The meeting will take place on Friday, June 12, at 1:00 p.m.