One of the original reasons for yesterday’s violent white supremacist march in Charlottesville, Virginia was to protest the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee from the newly-renamed Emancipation Park. Now, after the disastrous consequences of their protests, it looks like their efforts have inspired the exact opposite effect of what they desired, at least in one Kentucky city.
In the aftermath of yesterday’s horrendous clashes, the mayor of Lexington, Kentucky has now announced that he will begin the process of removing two Confederate monuments from the front of a former courthouse.
Mayor Jim Gray was inspired by the tragedy in Charlottesville to accelerate a request he was planning to make to the Lexington-Fayette County Urban County Council and to the state military commission for permission to remove the statues of two Kentucky-born Confederate generals.
While many people assume that Kentucky was part of the rebellious Confederacy, a little-known fact is that it was the one state that remained officially neutral in the conflict, although some of its citizens joined the war on one of the two sides, and it officially requested Union protection after Confederate forces invaded.
While Kentucky may not have been the heart of the Confederacy, it had enough rebel sympathies in the aftermath of the Civil War to erect statues of Confederate military leaders around the state. If there is any positive effect to come out of the Charlottesville tragedy, at least the removal of these monuments to racial oppression can be celebrated with the schadenfreude that it was all brought on by the protests to do exactly the opposite.