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Landmarks Commission approves Castleman statue removal from Cherokee Triangle

An appeal by the city to remove the Castleman statue in Cherokee Triangle was approved on May 9 by the city's landmark commission.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — An appeal by the city to remove the Castleman statue in Cherokee Triangle was approved on May 9 by the city's landmark commission.

The discussion to either keep the statue where it is or remove had been ongoing for about two years.

The appeal was approved with the condition that anything replacing the statue has to be approved by the architectural review committee. There is an agreement in principle to move the statue to a more appropriate location within Cave Hill Cemetary, where John B. Castleman is buried. 

Mayor Greg Fischer was previously not able to remove the statue after a 3-3 tie vote in January effectively denied the city's plan to remove the statue. Last year Fischer wanted the statue removed after a report was made by the public art and monuments advisory committee.

Today's 5-4 vote approves the removal of the statue from its current location.

Mayor Fischer released the following statement: 

"I am pleased with the Landmarks Commission decision today. Although John B. Castleman made civic contributions to Louisville, he also fought to keep men, women and children bonded in the chains of slavery and touted his role in the Civil War in his autobiography years later. We cannot and should not erase our history, but it is important that art and monuments displayed on public property reflect our values today as a welcoming city. We have an agreement in principle to move the Castleman statue to a more appropriate location within Cave Hill Cemetery where John B. Castleman is buried. Details will be finalized once the legal process is complete."

Local historians do have differing opinions on what should be done with the statue. Some believe removing it would set a bad precedent. Others think we should look at the context of why it was built but through the lens of today's culture and political climate.

"This monument, looking at it at the context of right now, is not welcome in a community of compassion,” local historian David Horvath said.

"His actions speak louder than words, and his actions spoke more towards peace and tolerance than hate,” author and historian Steve Wiser said.

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