Jefferson Davis Statue Voted Out Of Kentucky State Capitol

Adam Beam, AP

Charlene Holloway (right) and Gracie Lewis stood in front of the statue of Jefferson Davis in the Kentucky Capitol in 2017 at a rally calling for the statue's removal.

A Kentucky state commission voted on Friday to remove a statue of Jefferson Davis from the state Capitol’s main rotunda.

The statue of the former Confederate president, who was born in Kentucky, has stood in the rotunda for 84 years. The 11-1 vote by the state’s Historic Properties Advisory Commission was requested last week by Gov. Andy Beshear, who said the statue should be moved elsewhere.

Members of the commission said in the meeting that the statue will be moved to the Jefferson Davis State Historic Site near Fairview, Ky., where Davis was born. A moving crew was in the rotunda before the meeting began.

Calls to remove the statue have grown in recent weeks following protests against racial injustice sparked by the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis. In Kentucky, and in Louisville especially, the police killing of Breonna Taylor has also sparked large protest movements.

“Today has been a historic day in the Commonwealth,” Beshear said in a statement. “What it will mean is that … every child that walks into this Capitol feels welcome and none of them have to look at a symbol and a statue that stands for the enslavement of their ancestors. Today is a move toward showing that everybody is welcome in this building. We have systematic issues that we must address, but now is the time to truly move forward.”

It is unclear what will replace the statue. According to the Louisville Courier-Journal, a state senator has called for a monument to Carl Brashear, a Kentuckian who was the U.S. Navy’s first black master diver. Several other prominent black Kentuckians have been put forward as possibilities, including Muhammad Ali, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.

State Rep. Derrick Graham of Frankfort was on site just after the decision to remove Davis’ statue. “He’s gone, y’all,” he said in a tweet. “Glory, Hallelujah!”

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