Kentucky African American leaders call for removal of Jefferson Davis statue

African American leaders call for Davis statue to be removed from Frankfort

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WHAS11) -- The statue depicting the president of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis, still stands under the Capitol dome in Kentucky.

Wednesday, the Commonwealth’s Black Legislative Caucus rallied inside the Rotunda demanding Governor Matt Bevin remove the controversial Confederate monument.

Recently, Governor Bevin has voiced opposition to removing similar symbols describing doing so as “revisionist history.

“The governor's cause for concern is misplaced,” explained Kentucky State Representative Reginald Meeks. “Revisionist history is in the very marble and stone of these monuments.”

Lawmakers and activists have pushed before. Now, in light of Charleston and as cities across the country, consider removing Confederate statues, they've renewed their fight. Monday, they sent a letter to Governor Matt Bevin demanding he remove the statue from the Rotunda.

“This statue tribute to a traitor was erected in 1936 to serve as an everlasting symbol of white supremacy,” explained rally speaker Dr. Betty Sue Griffin. “And it served its purpose. We get it. This tribute to Jefferson Davis has reminded every African-American boy, girl, man and woman that enters these hallowed halls for the past 81 years that Kentucky supported the institution of slavery. It's time for his retirement.”

Joseph Springer told us he drove from Louisville to attend the rally. One of only three people we saw who opposed the statue’s removal, Springer quietly waited until after the rally to voice his opposition to cameras and debate with others of a differing opinion.

"Well, I'm sorry,” Springer said to a woman who wants the statue removed. “I don't see it so much as a race issue as an erasing history issue."

Emotions were high as he debated with the woman, but the moment remained peaceful.

We asked a rally organizer, considering the governor’s stance and recent efforts failing to force the removal of the statue, whether he had any reasonable expectation that today’s rally would make a difference.

He answered, “It has. History would be the judge of the governor's actions.”

We reached out to Governor Bevin’s office for comment but have yet to hear back.

© 2017 WHAS-TV


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