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House Democratic Women's Caucus Chair calls for woman to be represented in the Capitol Rotunda

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Posted at 9:21 AM, Jun 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-22 09:21:45-04

FRANKFORT, Ky. (LEX 18) — State Rep. Lisa Willner, Chair of the Kentucky House Democratic Women's Caucus says the Jefferson Davis statue that has been removed from the Capitol Rotunda should be replaced by a woman.

In a letter to Governor Andy Beshear, Willner says the state should find someone "who is truly worthy of standing in that hallowed space," suggesting several women to be permanently commemorated.

They include the following:

  • State Senator Georgia Powers: The first woman and the first person of colored elected to the chamber
  • Mary Elliott Flanery: The first woman elected to a state legislature south of the Mason-Dixon Line
  • Anne Braden: A civil rights activist who focused on the cause of racial equality
  • Alice Dunnigan: The first African-American woman to have a Capitol press pass in Washington, D.C. and the first black woman elected to the Women's National Press Club
  • bell hooks: An author, feminist scholar, and social activist who founded the bell hooks Institute at Berea College in Berea, Kentucky
  • Anna Mac Clarke: The first African-American women to be a commanding officer in the Women's Army Corps during World War II
  • Alberta Odell Jones: The first African-American woman named city attorney in Jefferson County
  • Gov. Martha Layne Collins: Kentucky's only woman governor

"We believe this provides a strong starting point for consideration as Kentucky begins determining who should be permanently requested in the Capitol Rotunda," Willner writes in the letter.

Last week, the Historic Properties Advisory Commission voted 11-1 to remove the Jefferson Davis statue from the Capitol. The statue dedicated to the president of the Confederacy was installed in the 1930's, and will be relocated to Fairview, Kentucky, his birthplace.

The caucus suggests the Rotunda should have a rotating educational display of women and people of color until a statue is ready to be installed.

Kentucky State Senator Chris McDaniel says the statue should be replaced with a statue of Carl Brashear, a Kentucky African American Navy sailor and master diver who died in 2006.