Officials considering adding Union statue next to Confederate statue in Madisonville

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HOPKINS CO., Ky (WEHT) The site of controversy in Madisonville is now the being discussed as a spot for a new addition.

During a Hopkins County Fiscal Court meeting Tuesday morning, officials approved a plan to look into the idea of placing a monument dedicated to Union soldiers outside the historic courthouse. It’s the same place where a Confederate statue stands now.

A petition was started in June to move the Confederate monument from the courthouse. It has stood outside the old Hopkins County Courthouse since 1908.

“It involves the whole community. We all have concerns about it,” said Mitchell Ferguson, who spoke at Tuesday’s Fiscal Court meeting in Madisonville.

After months of talks and thousands of signatures on online petitions for and against removing the confederate statue in Madisonville, one new idea comes to fruition.

“It just goes to show that there is a way, if you think there’s a way,” says Bill McReynolds of the African American Coalition of Hopkins County.

Hopkins County magistrates approved a plan to appoint a committee to look at placing a Union monument on the northwest corner of the old courthouse grounds, on the same block as the Confederate statue that’s been up since the early 1900s. The idea came from local historical groups, along with the NAACP and African American Coalition of Hopkins County, and would be a compromise if the Confederate statue remains.

“I think it’s a very good one. You can’t always please one side or the other, so if you can find that happy medium to hopefully appease or satisfy the majority, I think that is a good thing,” says McReynolds.

Judge Executive Jack Whitfield says this plan also honors original plans that were made back in the early 20th century, which called for both a Union and Confederate statue here outside the historic courthouse.

“It would show the history, which is what many people have said, don’t only get rid of the statue because it’s historical, but right now, it’s showing only one side of that history,” he said, during Tuesday’s meeting.

For me, I think it’s great. It certainly pleases me. My concern is it pleases the other folks that could have a problem with it,” adds Ferguson.

Judge Whitfield says any Union statue would have to be privately financed. He also hopes to start getting a committee together this week.

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(This story was originally published on Sept. 1, 2020)

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