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Crews remove Jefferson Davis statue from Capitol rotunda

Published: Jun. 12, 2020 at 11:47 AM EDT
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On Saturday, crews came together to remove the Jefferson Davis statue from the Capitol rotunda.

Governor Andy Beshear, wearing a hard-hat, was on-hand for the removal of the statue.

A bottle that appeared to have a message inside was found within the pedestal of the statue. Video shows it was a bottle of “Glenmore Straight Bourbon Whiskey.” WKYT is still working to determine what the contents of the message in the bottle are, but we do know that a newspaper from October of 1936 was inside.

The statue will be relocated to the Jefferson Davis State Historic Site in Fairview, Kentucky, where there is also an obelisk honoring Davis.

Jefferson Davis statue being removed

HAPPENING NOW: Crews are removing the Jefferson Davis statue from the Capitol rotunda in Frankfort.

Posted by WKYT on Saturday, June 13, 2020

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) – In an 11-1 vote, the Historic Properties Advisory Commission agreed Friday to remove the Jefferson Davis statue from the Capitol Rotunda.

The statue is set to be removed Saturday morning.

Crews arrived Friday morning with equipment that would be used to move the statue, including a crane and wooden supports. Particleboard was also but down in the rotunda, as well as metal supports in the basement to stabilize the floor.

“He enslaved human beings, rebelled against the United States of America,” says Cathy Thomas, who voted to move the statue. “He is a symbol of Confederacy that might still have me in chains.”

Others disagreed with moving the statue, including Brandon T. Wilson.

“I came on this board with the intent to protect history, I didn’t come on the board to remove history,” he said.

Others had a different viewpoint. “We need to learn from Jefferson Davis of our past, no doubt about it, but not in this space,” said Republican Representative Jason Nemes. "But this is a wonderful day, Abraham Lincoln won’t have to look over his shoulder on Jefferson Davis behind him.”

Governor Beshear released a statement following the decision, saying, " It was past time for this vote and for this action. But what it will mean is that we get a little closer to truly being Team Kentucky – that every child who walks into this Capitol feels welcome, and none of them have to look at a symbol and a statue that stands for the enslavement of their ancestors. Today is a move toward showing that everybody is welcome in this building and that our government should work for the betterment of every single Kentuckian – that we have systematic issues that we must address, but that now is the time to truly move forward, to truly make progress and to show that Team Kentucky includes every single Kentuckian.”

Commission member Brandon Wilson was the only member to vote against moving the Jefferson Davis statue.

State officials say that the statue will likely not be moved until sometime on Saturday. There is no decision at this time what will be put in its place.

The statue will be moved to the Jefferson Davis State Historic Site in Fairview, Kentucky, where there is also an obelisk honoring Davis. It is one of the tallest monuments of its kind in the United States.

Original Story:

A key meeting is set to begin Friday afternoon that could result in a controversial statue being removed from the state capitol rotunda.

The Historic Properties Advisory Commission will meet at 1 p.m. Governor Andy Beshear says he expects the commission to vote to remove the Jefferson Davis statue from the rotunda.

The statue has been in the capital since 1936.

A crew and heavy equipment from American Industrial Contractors have been at the capitol since Friday morning. There is a crane in place, and crews could be seen taking a number of large wooden platforms off a flatbed truck.

This as the state panel is set to meet this afternoon. WKYT also saw metal supports being placed in the basement of the capitol, underneath where the state is. That was late on Thursday.

WKYT News placed a call into American Industrial Contractors to learn more about the equipment that has been put in place. We were directed to leave a message with the company president.

During his daily briefing on Thursday, Governor Andy Beshear said they had reached out to commission members about Friday’s vote.

“We expect a bipartisan vote in favor of removal of the statue tomorrow. It is my expectation, and we have let each of the individuals know that is what I am asking,” said the governor.

This issue has been debated before. Five years ago this month the same commission considered moving the statue. The result of that debate was the removal of one of the bronze plaques in front of the statue.

Governor Beshear said Thursday he believes the statue could be moved to Davis’ birthplace in Lincoln County.

Copyright 2020 WKYT. All rights reserved.

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