Arts and Culture

A statue of Jefferson Davis is on its way out of the Kentucky State Capitol Building. 

Crews removed it over the course of two days after the state’s Historic Properties Advisory Commission voted 11 to 1 to relocate it to Jefferson Davis Historic Park, in Fairview.

Cathy Thomas, who is the only Black member, said she voted for it to go because a monument to the former president of the Confederacy doesn’t belong at the Capitol.

“He is a symbol of the Confederacy that might still have me in chains. And that is why removing divisive symbols such as this, especially from publicly funded spaces that I pay into, it’s necessary and long overdue.” 

The one dissenting vote, Brandon Wilson, said he joined this board to, “protect history, not remove it.”

A crew of more than a dozen, all in fluorescent yellow shirts, worked for hours to remove the Davis statue from where it has stood since 1936. While they worked, they recovered artifacts from the statue’s hollow plinth, including a newspaper dated Oct. 20, 1936 and an old empty bottle of Kentucky bourbon whiskey with a note inside.

 

Stephanie Wolf | wfpl.org

Steel beams installed to support the floor beneath the Jefferson Davis statue in the Capitol Rotunda.

Stephanie Wolf | wfpl.org

A crew of more than a dozen men lay metal rails during the removal process of the Davis statue at the State Capitol on June 12, 2020.

Stephanie Wolf | wfpl.org

A crew begins work on removing a statue of Jefferson Davis from the Capitol Rotunda on June 12, 2020.

Stephanie Wolf | wfpl.org

A crew begins work on removing a statue of Jefferson Davis from the Capitol Rotunda.

Stephanie Wolf | wfpl.org

Gwendolyn McCullough takes a break from cleaning to watch crews begin to remove the Davis statue from the Capitol on June 12, 2020.

Stephanie Wolf | wfpl.org

Crew members shine a light on the statue’s plaque.

Stephanie Wolf | wfpl.org

Crew members remove the statue’s plaque on June 12, 2020.

Stephanie Wolf | wfpl.org

A crew of more than a dozen men begin to remove a statue of Jefferson Davis from the State Capitol Building on June 12, 2020.

Stephanie Wolf | wfpl.org
Stephanie Wolf | wfpl.org

A crew member takes a measurement, preparing to remove the 15-foot marble statue of Jefferson Davis on June 12, 2020.

Stephanie Wolf | wfpl.org

Crew members work on removing a statue of Jefferson Davis from the Kentucky State Capitol Building on June 13, 2020.

Stephanie Wolf | wfpl.org

A crew member reaches into the hollow base of the statue, where the found an old newspaper and a bourbon bottle with a note inside.

Stephanie Wolf | wfpl.org

Workers pass off artifacts found inside the hollow base of the Jefferson Davis statue.

Stephanie Wolf | wfpl.org
Stephanie Wolf | wfpl.org

One of the artifacts found inside the hollow base of the Jefferson Davis statue on June 13, 2020.

Stephanie Wolf | wfpl.org

Crew members secure the Jefferson Davis statue on June 13, 2020.

Stephanie Wolf | wfpl.org

First Lady of Kentucky Britainy Beshear watches with her two kids.

Stephanie Wolf | wfpl.org
Stephanie Wolf | wfpl.org

Gov. Andy Beshear stops by during the removal process on June 13, 2020.

Stephanie Wolf | wfpl.org

Gov. Beshear takes a look inside the base of where the statue once stood.

Stephanie Wolf is WFPL's Arts Reporter.