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Community invited to discuss history of Confederate statue

June 25, 2020

An event highlighting the history of the Confederate statue that sits on the lawn of the Daviess County Courthouse will be held Thursday at Kentucky Wesleyan College. | File photo by Nathan Seaton

An event highlighting the history of the Confederate statue that sits on the lawn of the Daviess County Courthouse will be held Thursday at Kentucky Wesleyan College.

The discussion, schedule for 6:30-8 p.m. on the lawn at KWC, will provide the community with factual information as local organizations continue their efforts to have the statue removed from such a public area. 

The event is being hosted by the Owensboro NAACP, the Owensboro Human Relations Commission and the Higher Education Equity Coalition — which is comprised of Brescia University, KWC and Owensboro Community & Technical College.

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Owensboro NAACP chapter president Rhondalyn Randolph said each organization has expressed support in removing the statue from the Courthouse lawn and placing it elsewhere. 

For Randolph, the “Continuing the Peace & Reconciliation” event is important because it will provide unbiased, factual information to the public regarding the Confederate statue’s history in Owensboro. 

“We wanted to continue the momentum for the statue’s removal, but we wanted to make sure we had responses from the community, especially from those who believe we are trying to rewrite history,” she said. “We are not trying to rewrite history. Providing an accurate depiction of what was taking place during that time can help explain why so many people had an adverse reaction to the statue being placed on the Courthouse lawn.” 

Randolph said the Courthouse and its adjoining lawn are supposed to be places for everyone — regardless of their race, background, ethnicity, nationality, income-level, or social status.

She said by allowing a symbol of oppression to remain in such a public place, it could misrepresent the community or even offend visitors. 

Thursday’s event will include speakers from Brescia, KWC, the NAACP, the OHRC and the Owensboro Museum of Science & History’s board chair, all of whom Randolph said stand in solidarity on the importance of educating the public and allowing their voices to be heard. 

“Back then, it was basically just black and white, and these educational institutions have an understanding of that,” Randolph said. “It will be strictly the facts being presented.” 

Rather than having the statue in its current location, Randolph said she supports the idea of moving it to the Museum of Science & History or a cemetery. Officials with the museum said they would be willing to house it, she said. 

Randolph said she expects a pretty good turnout from the community, as momentum regarding the statue’s removal has remained steady over the last few weeks. 

“We’ve been planning this for a while, but we just started pushing it really hard this week,” she said. “We want as much participation as possible, especially from those who think we want to rewrite history. We will leave room for questions and answers at the end, for about 10 minutes. We want to preserve the statue. Despite everything going on [across the nation], there is a process where you can do this the right way.” 

Attendees are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs and must adhere to the City’s social distancing guidelines by spacing their seating. Wearing a mask is encouraged, but not required.

June 25, 2020

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