Lexington Removes Confederate Statues

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Two Confederate statues in Lexington, Kentucky, were removed late Oct. 17 and in the early hours of Oct. 18 after the state's attorney general allowed local authorities to do so.

The statues, including one of former U.S. vice president and Confederate general John Breckenridge, stood on the lawn of the former Fayette  County courthouse, according to the Lexington Herald Leader.

"Attorney General Andy Beshear has issued an opinion that the Kentucky Military Heritage Commission does not have jurisdiction over the statues," a statement from Lexington City Council noted, according to the Herald Leader.

The commission had been trying to prevent the statues' removal.

"We discovered the city council did not authorize the mayor to give up local authority to the state Military Heritage Commission in 2003," added Mayor Jim Gray. "That action wasn't lawful, and it is void. The Attorney General confirmed our finding this morning. That means our local authority remains intact; this is a local decision, as it should be. This council has unanimously supported moving the statues to the Lexington Cemetery. The cemetery trustees have voiced their conditional approval. That's what we intend to do."

Workmen began taking the Breckinridge statue away at 6:30 p.m. A crowd of onlookers gathered to watch, with some cheering and filming the scene.

Lexington is not the only city debating what to do with its Confederate statues. In Memphis, Tennessee, several city council members are urging that statues of Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest and Jefferson Davis be removed.

The council voted Oct. 17 to order Mayor Jim Strickland to "come up with a plan" for the monuments by Nov. 21. In the meantime, crews will block the statues from view.

Although a state commission issued a ruling that the city does not have jurisdiction to remove the statues, the city is going to court to argue that it has the right to go ahead with its plans.

In Dallas, there is sharp disagreement about what to do with a statue of Robert E. Lee and other Confederate monuments.

"The KKK had one of the largest chapters in the nation here in Dallas," Rene Martinez, a member of the mayor's Task Force on Confederate Monuments, said during a recent debate, according to KRLD. Martinez added that this was the "real history" and that Dallas has to "acknowledge it."

But local resident Eugene Ralph disagreed.

"This issue is being used by the left as a battering ram to basically destroy the history of America," he stated. "That's the reason I'm in this fight. I'm not in this fight because I'm so concerned about the Confederate statues. I'm in this fight because of monuments generally."

Sources: Lexington Herald Leader, WREG, KRLD / Featured Image: Bedford/Wikimedia Commons / Embedded Images: Michael Rivera/Wikimedia Commons(2)

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