LOUISVILLE (WHAS11) – The Confederate monument on Third Street at UofL’s Belknap campus will be moved to a new location, according to Mayor Greg Fischer and University of Louisville President James Ramsey.
The location will be determined at a later date.
“It’s always important to remember and respect our history, but it’s equally important to reflect on that history in proper context,” Fischer said. “This monument represents our history -- a painful part of our nation’s history for many — and it’s best moved to a new location.”
The statue will be in storage until an appropriate historical location is selected. Leadership in Mayor Fischer’s and President Ramsey’s offices have been working on the move for several weeks. They will be discussing the options for an appropriate historical venue in the near future. While the monument is disassembled, the university will clean and repair the bronze figures and embellishments. That has not been done since 1895.
Members of the University of Louisville Diversity Committee, comprised of students, faculty and staff appointed by President Ramsey, listed the removal of the statue as one of their highest priorities to improve diversity and inclusion on campus.
“We are not here to erase history, but we are here to announce that this statue should be situated somewhere more appropriate than a modern campus that celebrates its diversity,” Dr. Ramsey said. “Kentucky certainly played a unique role in the Civil War, but it is the culture of inclusion we strive for each day at U of L that will define our future. Over the years, our campus has grown to encircle this monument, which does not symbolize the values of our campus community or that of a 21st Century institution of higher education.”
The statue was gifted to the city by the Kentucky Woman’s Monument Association in 1895 to commemorate the Kentuckians who fought and died for the Confederacy during the Civil War.
After the statue is removed, the Third Street median will be replaced with a new lane to improve access to the Speed Art Museum and help traffic flow.
UofL and city officials are working to have this down as soon as possible since students have left campus for the summer.
Congressman John Yarmuth (KY-3) issued this statement: “I heartily welcome Mayor Fischer and President Ramsey’s decision to remove the Confederate monument from UofL’s campus. It honors a shameful episode in our nation's history, one that represents a hateful division and fails to truly reflect our city and Commonwealth’s role in the Civil War.”
The following is a statement form the Louisville Metro Human Relations Commission: "The Louisville Metro Human Relations Commission is pleased with the announcement by Mayor Fischer and the University of Louisville President Ramsey that the Confederate monument on U of L’s Belknap campus will be moved to another location. The Commission believes that the University of Louisville, an urban university, should present a welcoming presence to all students. This statue, presented to the city some thirty years after the end of the Civil War, recognizes Confederate soldiers who died. Kentucky was never a part of the Confederacy and it seems more appropriate for such a memorial to be placed in a museum or cemetery where Confederate soldiers rest."