Mayor Fischer's remarks on the removal of the Confederate statue

April 29, 2016

Mayor Greg Fischer's remarks on the removal of the Confederate statue:

When the Confederate Monument on South Third Street was built in the 1890s, there was a conversation in the community about where it should be placed.  It was partly about geography, but it was also about the context of the day and the legacy of the Civil War.  

It was a complicated question in 1895 with Union and Confederate veterans along with freed slaves and their families living in this city, passing each other on the same streets. 

Today, 121 years later, we can understand the complicated nature of 1895 and appreciate that the citizens felt like placing this memorial on 3rd Street was the right decision to make.

But today, a different decision has been made.

There are practical reasons for why this statue should not be here — like the traffic complications it causes turning in and out of the beautiful new Speed.

There are civic reasons for why this statue should not be here — like citizens objecting to having a monument to the Confederacy placed on public land.

I recognize that some people say this monument should stay because it is part of our history.

But I also appreciate that we can make our own history.

The stain of slavery and racism that this monument represents for many, many people has no place in a compassionate, forward leaning city.

I know that some people may be upset by the removal of this statue, others will be upset that it is not being blown up. But it is inarguably a part of our history, and it will be moved to a more appropriate place where those who wish to visit it for its historical significance will be free to do so.

I would like to thank all of the people that have contributed to the action that is being taken today – President Ramsey, the UofL Foundation, the state’s transportation department, educators, and activists.

It is a testament to our citizens that we can make this happen as one people moving together to help create a better tomorrow.

Today, the removal of this monument is another step of progress on the city’s journey toward creating a home where everyone feels welcome.

There will always be more work to do on the path to justice. Today, we made a down payment.

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