Lexington, Ky., Mayor Says Confederate Statues Are Coming Down After Charlottesville, Va., Tragedy

John Hunt Morgan Statue (Lexington Herald Leader)

It usually takes a tragedy for there to be any substantive change around race in this country, and perhaps the death of Heather Heyer is the latest in that vein.


On Saturday the mayor of Lexington, Ky., said that he is going to remove two Confederate monuments from his city’s former courthouse in light of the racial unrest and terrorism in Charlottesville, Va.

The white supremacist marchers were supposedly called to Charlottesville because a statue of Robert E. Lee was removed from a public park there.

Mayor Jim Gray took to Twitter on Saturday afternoon and first did what our president could not—clearly condemned the white supremacist violence in Virginia.


He then said that he is taking steps to remove two monuments to John Hunt Morgan and John C. Breckinridge from the site of what is going to become a visitors center.

Morgan fought for the Confederacy until his death in 1864, and Breckinridge, the U.S. vice president under James Buchanan, was the only vice president ever to take up arms against the government of the United States.


The Lexington Herald Leader reports that Morgan’s statue was vandalized in 2015 when someone spray-painted “Black Lives Matter” on its base.


The events in Charlottesville apparently moved the mayor to announce his decision to remove the statues earlier than he planned. Gray asked the Lexington City Council to support his petition for removal next week.


The interesting part about Kentucky is that it was officially “neutral” in the Civil War, and both it and Missouri had representatives in both Union and secessionist congresses and armies.


Although it was a slaveholding border state, more Kentuckians actually served in Union regiments than Confederate ones during the Civil War, but historical revisionists would have you believe that the entire state stood behind the Confederacy.

But as with most things except racism, savory grits and the genius of Kanye West, it is not so black and white.


Read more at the Lexington Herald Leader.

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Angela Helm

Ms. Bronner Helm is a Contributing Editor at The Root. Mouthy Black Girl. Rosalynn Carter Mental Health Fellow. Shea Butter Feminist. Virgo Sun, Aries Moon.