Group wants Jefferson Davis statue removed from Kentucky capitol

Posted at 6:59 PM, Aug 30, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-30 22:14:37-04

FRANKFORT, Ky. -- More than 100 people showed up to Kentucky's capitol Wednesday to rally for the removal of a Jefferson Davis statue, saying it has no place in the rotunda and instead belongs in a museum.

Controversy has grown around Confederate symbols across the country following violence at a white supremacist rally in favor of Confederate monuments in Charlottesville, Virgina, a few weeks ago.

Sen. Gerald Neal, a Democrat from Louisville, called Davis a "white supremacist, racist, bigot, slave owner" and said he should not be "held in a position of honor." Davis was the president of the Confederacy.

"If it stays, it's a symbol of debauchery and bigotry and racism endorsed by the Commonwealth fo Kentucky," he said.

Neal is one of several lawmakers working to get rid of the statue. They said they're willing to make legislation if that's what it takes.

The statue has been in the state capitol since 1936. While Kentucky never joined the confederacy, it "was filled with Confederate sympathizers who set up a shadow government for a time in the western part of the state," according to the Associated Press.

A plaque below the statue describes Davis as "patriot - hero - statesman."

Earlier this month, Gov. Matt Bevin said he disagrees with removing Confederate monuments from government property, calling it the "sanitization of history."

Neal said they're not trying to do away with history, just put it somewhere more appropriate than the capitol.

"We're not trying to create a fight, that's not what we're talking about," he said. "What we're trying to do is characterize what is happening here and appeal to those that are in position to take action, to take action that is necessary to remove it."

He's hoping to appeal to Bevin that removing the statue from the capitol is the best thing for Kentucky.

Linda Waller of Frankfort said she believes the statue should be moved to a museum.

"He doesn't represent American values, nor Kentucky values," she said. "...This is our state capitol, and our state capitol needs to be about all Kentuckians, and I don't believe having a statue of Jefferson Davis represents interest of all of our citizens."