Tiny town Trump won with 63% of vote seeks to remove Confederate monument
A new billboard in Owensboro, Kentucky — a town with only 4,000 Black residents out of 60,000 — calls for the statue's removal.
The residents of Owensboro, Kentucky, are ramping up their fight to have a Confederate monument removed from outside of their local courthouse.
The small town — said to have only 4,000 Black residents out of 60,000 — is in Daviess County, which voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump in the 2020 election, according to an editorial by The Louisville Courier-Journal.
A billboard was erected Tuesday calling for the monument of a rebel soldier to be moved from outside the Daviess County Courthouse, where it has stood for 122 years.
“Show (love) for all,” the billboard reads. “REMOVE Owensboro-Daviess County’s Confederate Monument.” In small print is #TakeItDown and #WhoseHeritage. It was paid for by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The effort to remove the statue was initiated by Rev. Rondalyn Randolph, president of the local NAACP chapter, in 2017. She was motivated by the shooting of nine parishioners at Mother Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina, two years earlier.
Randolph has gained support from local colleges and clergy. The Courier-Journal says she was able to convince County Judge-Executive Al Mattingly, who was initially against removing statues. Randolph explained that the statue should be moved from outside a courthouse, where all residents enter to conduct business.
“I looked at both sides of the issue and I felt like there was no place for that monument on public property,” he said. “It was so divisive.”
The editorial in The Courier-Journal notes that there are 51 monuments to the Confederacy in Kentucky, although the state stayed loyal to the union and never joined the Southern side of the war. There are seven monuments honoring union soldiers.
So far, five Confederate statues have been moved, and the Daviess County Fiscal Court voted to make the Owensboro statue the sixth in 2020. However, The United Daughters of the Confederacy sued and claimed ownership of the statue. Daviess Circuit Judge Lisa Payne Jones issued an injunction as a result, stating it cannot be moved until she determines who owns it. The case has been on her docket for almost a year.
As the case continued to languish, Randolph enlisted the support of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which erected the billboard.
Mattingly, the county executive who was once against moving the statue, is now in support of it, and he predicts that when the judge does act, it will be in Randolph’s favor.
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