Petition calls for Muhammad Ali monument to replace Jefferson Davis in Capitol Rotunda
Ali's death prompts former State Treasurer to renew call to honor Ali
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- It's an idea that will float like a butterfly for some and sting like a bee for others.
There’s a new effort to make Muhammad Ali a permanent fixture in the state Capitol.
Former State Treasurer Jonathan Miller is once again pushing for an image of Muhammad Ali to be placed in the Capitol Rotunda, replacing the controversial statue of Jefferson Davis.
“There is this consensus among Democrats and Republican leaders in Frankfort that it's time for Jefferson Davis to go,” Miller told WDRB News.
It's not the first time Miller has suggested replacing Davis with Ali.
The idea died last year when the state Historic Properties Commission voted to keep Davis in place.
Now, with Ali's death, Miller is once again using his popular Kentucky Sports Radio column to push for replacing what he calls a symbol of the Confederacy with a descendant of slaves.
“Who also happened to be a great civil rights leader and the most famous and, I believe, influential Kentuckian of the 20th century,” said Miller.
Miller says he understands that Ali is also controversial, especially among some veterans, for his refusal to be drafted during the Vietnam War.
“By standing up for his convictions, by standing up for his faith, Ali was the voice of a generation. And it's critical that we recognize that voice,” said Miller.
Capitol tourists WDRB spoke with agreed that Ali deserves a place of honor, but with regards to replacing Davis, that's where opinion splits.
“I'd like to see him moved to a place of historic importance, a museum or something. Ali, yes. I think we need some diversity in our Rotunda,” said Karen Hatter.
“I have no problems with who's in this building now. I just have a problem with the idea of bringing others in, regardless of who they may be,” said Russ Hatter.
Miller says any image of Ali would have to conform to Islamic law, which may mean a portrait as opposed to a statue.
He has launched an online petition, and is hoping for bipartisan support.
“This is a way that we can physically commemorate what he did in a way that will educate future generations of politicians and school children,” said Miller.
Copyright 2016 WDRB Media. All rights reserved.