Daviess Co. Commissioners Hear Confederate Monument Debate

Nearly a month after clashes in Charlottesville, Virginia over the Robert E. Lee statue, the debate over the Confederate Monument in Owensboro returns to the forefront.

Both sides present their case to the Daviess County Fiscal Court tonight.

Before the fiscal court meeting, protestors stood silently in their opposition to the statue's place on the Daviess County Courthouse lawn.

"We've made a conscious effort to come here once a week on Thursday to silent protest until a committee to study it is formed or until the statue is moved," says Mary Danhauer of Nonviolent Owensboro, the group that organized the protest.

Inside, both sides of the debate voiced their stance.

"This is an attempt to put history in its proper context," says Rev. Rhondalyn Randolph of the Owensboro Chapter Of The NAACP. She asked commissioners to start the process of moving it to another site, and suggested forming a committee for ideas on what should be done and what context to put it in.

"This is another way to diffuse questions or people that may be oppositional to it because they'll see it's not a rush thing but we're actually taking our time," she says.

"To us, taking it down besmirches that memory," says Lance Howard of the Sons Of Confederate Veterans. He says moving the statue degrades its history, adding moving it signals it's offensive when he says the monument isn't.

"To remove the monument says it is not worthy to stand in the form that it is currently, that there is a problem with that statue that makes it need to be moved to perhaps be put in a museum where it will be less offensive to people," Howard says.

Judge Executive Al Mattingly says he's taken comments from both sides of the issue. While he declined to comment on-camera, he said he's pleased by the tone of the debate so far. After the meeting, Mattingly didn't say if, or when, a decision will be made on the request.

(This story was originally published on September 7, 2017)

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