UK students, faculty share views on Confederate statues

Kentuckians gather in front of the Courthouse in downtown Lexington in solidarity with Charlottesville, Virginia on Monday August 14, 2017. Photo by Arden Barnes | Staff

Jasper Jones

Throughout the south, there has been much controversy concerning the removal of statues that honor Confederate soldiers and generals.

Lexington has two statues that commemorate Confederate figures. Statues of General John Hunt Morgan and the last Confederate Secretary of War John C. Breckinridge stand at the former county courthouse, the site of a former slave auction block.

With many Confederate statues around the nation, the options are keeping them up, relocating them or just getting rid of them altogether.

With school at UK and BCTC in full swing, students are aware of what’s happening. The incidents in Charlottesville happened near a college campus with many college students getting involved.

“I honestly feel like the statues should stay where they are as they are a part of the history of this country, good or bad. But, there should not be a rally like there was in Charlottesville and [the issue] should be solved thoroughly,” BCTC management sophomore Jake Lampton said.

Computer engineering sophomore John Macleneary said the statues should be removed and not relocated.

“These statues are of the losers of a bloody and gruesome war. These guys fought to keep slavery and their way of life the same as well as seceding from the union,” Macleneary said. He said these statues should not be here or in other states.

UK history professor Ron Formisano said that statues like the ones in Lexington are symbols of white supremacy in the eyes of African-Americans.

“The statues in the eyes of freed black people symbolized the continuation of white supremacy, and many freed people still experienced a form of slavery in peonage, and in convict labor, prison labor, benefiting white elites,” Formisano said.

The statues are currently being discussed by Mayor Jim Gray and the city council. Gray must suggest a relocation spot by mid-September.