Dozens rally for and against future of Confederate soldier statue in the Highlands
A landmark in the Highlands that has been there for more than a century may be removed if Louisville civil rights group can convince the mayor to do so.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- A landmark in the Highlands that has been there for more than a century may be removed if Louisville civil rights group can convince the mayor to do so.
And many who want to see it gone gathered Monday night in front of the 15-foot John B. Castleman statue, calling for its removal and decrying what they say it represents.
Members of Louisville’s Showing up for Racial Justice (SURJ) had a clear message for Mayor Greg Fischer.
"There is a lot of excellent history in our city that we can put in that place," said Aundria Radmacher, who organized the rally. "We don’t need to be celebrating and protecting white supremacy."
The statue of Castleman was erected in 1913. He became a Brigadier General and was a pioneer for Louisville’s park system, including Cherokee Park.
"Whether or not he engaged in the creation of those parks, he was not going to let everyone use them," Radmacher said. "That is not a value that we have in this town."
The statue was vandalized last weekend. Paint splashed on it with the words "never again." Because of Castleman's Confederate affiliation, some residents said it’s time for the statue to be taken down.
"I care more about people of color than I care about a man on a statue who fought for slavery," said Colene Williams, who lives in the Upper Highlands.
However, others at Monday’s rally said Castleman, along with the statue, are a part of the city’s history and that it’s a landmark that should stay.
"It’s part of what makes Cherokee Triangle Cherokee Triangle, and I don’t think you can wipe off all your history," Callie McCracklin said.
More than 20 LMPD officers blocked off streets around Cherokee Circle and closely watched the event as opponents and supporters of the statue voiced their concerns.
"I don’t think of him as having just fought in the Civil War," McCracklin said. "I figure he came back, he realized he had to contribute to his community, and he did."
Just before the rally began, a new surveillance camera was installed to watch over Cherokee Circle.
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