LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Monuments that honor the confederacy “have no place” in Louisville, according to a special commission assembled by Mayor Greg Fischer.
The Public Arts and Monuments Advisory committee was formed in the wake of outrage over the John B. Castleman statue situation in Cherokee Triangle.
The statue was vandalized with bright orange paint in August 2017 on the same weekend of the Charlottesville, Virginia, riot involving white supremacists. Critics say the post-Civil-War-era statue is a symbol of the Confederacy.
The group held a number of public meetings aimed at collecting opinions of what should be done about the Castleman and other monuments.
“It’s our role to decide what do our monuments do? And what do we expect them to do?” said Chris Reitz, a professor at the University of Louisville and member of the committee. “One of the things we expect them to do is be in line with our values of the city.”
Ultimately, the decision on what those values are rests in the hands of Fischer, Reitz said.
According to a release, Fischer will review the report and make a decision on what to do next but no timetable was given on how long that will take.
“We need to be mindful that they were probably built not strategically to represent the whole city but in specific moments for specific purposes.” Reitz said. “Every once in a while you back up and say does it do what we want it to do? If not, you have to adjust it.”
The committee concluded that removing controversial monuments was the best option when it wouldn’t be possible to “reconcile the monument’s message with the values of the city."
"Any symbol can potentially serve as a rallying point," the report said. "But the city must not maintain statues that serve as convincing and validating symbols for racist or bigoted ideology."
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