Confederate statues

Ryland Barton

A new report shows the number of Confederate symbols removed across the nation last year include three in Kentucky, one in Indiana, and none in Tennessee. 

Many more across the nation were renamed or taken down following the May 25 police killing of George Floyd, a Black man in Minneapolis.

In the seven months following the Floyd killing, more symbols were removed from public property than in the past four years combined. 

According to a count from the Southern Poverty Law Center, 168 Confederate symbols came down in 2020, but 704 monuments are still standing.  SPLC Chief of Staff Lecia Brooks says some states made it more difficult to remove monuments following a watershed event in South Carolina.


A controversial statue outside the Daviess County Courthouse is a step closer toward finding a new home. 

The fiscal court voted in August to relocate a Confederate monument amid national unrest over police shootings involving African-Americans. 

A relocation committee met Wednesday and narrowed down a list of potential sites to house the 120-year-old statue.  Chairwoman Aloma Dew said the committee’s first choice is the Owensboro Museum of Science and History, followed by the Owensboro Museum of Fine Art. Dew said the complete statue is too heavy to be housed at either museum and suggested the base of the monument be sent to the Panther Creek battlefield.

“Many people are concerned about the whole statue going to Panther Creek because of the fear of vandalism," Dew said. "Several of the letters have said we want it safe. We want it indoors.”

About 60 Confederate monuments have come down across the U.S. amid a national reckoning on race — but nearly half as many localities that considered removing their statues have decided to keep them.

Since George Floyd's death in May that sparked nationwide protests against police brutality and racial injustice, there have been votes or decisions to protect 28 monuments, according to an NPR count.

A Confederate statue sitting on the Daviess County Courthouse lawn will be moved.

But where the statue is going is still unknown.

Daviess Fiscal Court voted Thursday night to form a five-person public committee tasked with presenting the court with options on where to move the 120-year-old statue.

The Messenger-Inquirer reports those committee members will be named by members of the fiscal court, with appointments announced within six weeks.

The debate over the Owensboro statue comes amid a renewed conversation nationally over what to do with symbols depicting elements of white supremacy.

Updated at 6:20 p.m. ET

The House of Representatives approved legislation Wednesday to remove statues honoring figures who were part of the Confederacy during the Civil War from the U.S. Capitol. The bill would also replace the bust of Chief Justice Roger Brooke Taney, author of the Supreme Court's 1857 Dred Scott decision denying freedom to an enslaved man, and replace it with a bust of Justice Thurgood Marshall.


Some African-Americans in Owensboro are joining a growing call to remove Confederate monuments in the wake of nationwide protests against racial injustice.

The local NAACP is calling for the removal of a Confederate monument on the lawn of the Daviess County courthouse. The bronze statue features a soldier holding a rifle on top of a granite pedestal. It was erected in 1900 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy. 

Rhondalyn Randolph, president of the Owensboro NAACP chapter, says Owensboro is no longer a community that would glorify white supremacy.

“We just want to show we need to progress forward from that kind of thinking, and our community demographics, we are changing," Randolph stated.

J. Tyler Franklin

After nearly two years of debate, the city of Louisville has been granted approval to remove a controversial statue.

The Historic Landmarks and Preservation Districts Commission on Thursday approved a motion to move the controversial John Breckinridge Castleman statue from the Cherokee Triangle neighborhood.

The Castleman statue has been a source of public debate since it was first vandalized in August 2017, shortly after a violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Castleman was integral in developing Louisville’s park system — and he also served in the Confederacy.

Lisa Autry

The Student Government Association at Western Kentucky University has voted in favor of relocating a historical marker on campus. 

The marker identifies Bowling Green as the Confederate Capital of Kentucky during the Civil War.  The marker was erected in 1952 during the civil rights era and stands in front of the Kentucky Museum.  SGA member Symone Whalin is an African-American student from Hardin County.

“I just feel like people should understand there is a time and setting for history to be remembered and I don’t think that every time I walk to class, I should be reminded that people who looked like me were not allowed to be here," Whalin told WKU Public Radio.

Credit Photo corresponding to letter post via

Paducah area African American church leaders and the local N.A.A.C.P. are calling upon the city to remove the statue of Confederate General Lloyd Tilghman on Fountain Square.

A letter published over the weekend suggests in its place installing a plaque that explains why the statue was removed and listing the names of slaves owned by Tilghman. The Lloyd Tilghman House Facebook page says he owned five slaves. The historic home is a museum in the city.

Members of the Paducah Area African American Methodist Episcopal Churches, local N.A.A.C.P., Community Clergy Fellowship and Community Coming Together signed the letter to the City of Paducah stating that "The vast majority of Black citizens in this city emphatically do not want to preserve the painful legacy of slavery and white supremacy" represented by the Tilghman statue.

Ryland Barton

African-American leaders called on Gov. Matt Bevin to remove a white marble statue of Jefferson Davis from the state Capitol building on Wednesday.

The plea comes in the wake of the violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, earlier this month. But for years, activists have called for Davis’ likeness to be removed from the Capitol Rotunda, which exhibits statues of revered Kentuckians including Abraham Lincoln, Henry Clay, U.S. Sen. Alben Barkley and pioneer surgeon Ephraim McDowell.

As President Trump doubled down on his defense of Confederate statues and monuments this week, he overlooked an important fact noted by historians: The majority of the memorials seem to have been built with the intention not to honor fallen soldiers, but specifically to further ideals of white supremacy.

Updated at 4:59 p.m. ET

President Trump stood by his heavily criticized defense of monuments commemorating the Confederacy in a series of tweets Thursday morning. Trump said removing the statues of Confederate generals meant removing "beauty" — that would "never able to be comparably replaced" — from American cities. As he did in a Tuesday press conference, he also attempted to equate some Confederate generals with some of the Founding Fathers.

Strung together, the tweets read:

Flickr/Creative Commons/J. Stephen Conn

A bipartisan group of community leaders and lawmakers called for the removal of the Jefferson Davis statue from the state Capitol rotunda during a rally on Wednesday.

The gathering came in response to the violent white supremacist protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, over that city’s removal of a Robert E. Lee statue.

“Do not ever tell me that Confederate symbols have no meaning,” said Sadiqa Reynolds, president of the Louisville Urban League.

“We have fought in America’s wars, we have nursed your children, we have prayed for your souls and still when we walk through our country and see the symbols of hate that we endure being flown, raised and honored, we are told to get over it.”

J. Tyler Franklin

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell condemned white supremacists who are gearing up for a rally in Lexington in response to plans to remove statues of Confederate generals from city property.

“We can have no tolerance for an ideology of racial hatred,” McConnell said in a statement. “There are no good neo-nazis, and those who espouse their views are not supporters of American ideals and freedoms. We all have a responsibility to stand against hate and violence, wherever it raises its evil head.”

An Owensboro man is leading an effort to move a Confederate statue off the Daviess County Courthouse lawn.

Twenty-two-year-old Jesse Bean started a petition on the website to convince local leaders to act.

Bean says he was inspired to take on the issue following the weekend violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and efforts in Lexington to move a pair of Confederate statues away from that city’s downtown.

Bean says the local statue should be displayed at the Owensboro Museum of Science and History.