LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Mayor Fischer announced that the city plans to move a controversial statue of Confederate officer John Breckinridge Castleman from the Cherokee Triangle neighborhood and the George Dennison Prentice statue from outside the Louisville Free Public Library.
The Mayor’s decision comes after a review of recommendations by a Public Art and Monuments Advisory Committee that he appointed late last year to develop a guiding set of principles for evaluating existing and future public art and monuments in the city.
“Our Public Art and Monuments
committee worked very hard, in cooperation with citizens, to develop thoughtful
principles to help ensure that our public art and monuments respect our history
but reflect the values of today,” he said. “I support those principles, and I
used the criteria laid out in their report to make this decision about the
Castleman and Prentice statues."
“We all agree with the report’s finding that our city must not maintain statues that serve as validating symbols for racist or bigoted ideology – that’s why we relocated the Confederate statue near the University of Louisville two years ago,” the Mayor said.
“While Castleman was honored for contributions to the community, it cannot be ignored that he also fought to continue the horrific and brutal slavery of men, women and children; heralded that part of his life in his autobiography; and had his coffin draped with both a U.S. and Confederate flag,” he said. “And while Prentice was founder and long-time editor of the Louisville Journal newspaper, he used that platform to advocate an anti-Catholic, anti-immigrant message that led to the 1865 Bloody Monday riot where 22 people were killed.”
Mayor Fischer said appropriate relocations will be explored; the city is, for example, in conversation with Cave Hill Cemetery about moving the statues to their family burial grounds there. There are legal and financial issues to address with any relocation, including, for Castleman, a review by the Cherokee Triangle Preservation District. If no other suitable sites are found, the statues will go into storage.