Supporters of removing Confederate statue in Madisonville make case to Hopkins Co. officials

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MADISONVILLE, Ky. (WEHT) – Nearly two weeks after the Daviess County Fiscal Court voted to move the confederate statue from their courthouse property, the debate over another statue in Hopkins County picks up.

People who want it moved from the old county courthouse make their first in-person case to the fiscal court this morning.

Since two online petitions were made earlier this year, one calling for the statue’s removal, the other for keeping it where it is, thousands of people have signed up online. But at today’s fiscal court meeting, it was the first chance for some of those people to make their opinions known to the fiscal court in person.”

“Historically, this monument not only misrepresents the Confederate soldiers that it celebrates, but it misrepresents our county,” said Chris Schweizer, a member of the Historical Society of Hopkins County. He had ancestors who fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War.

“A gentleman named Russell Hand, who fought in the 46th Alabama infantry,” he recalled.

He says the statue of the confederate soldier that’s stood in Madisonville for more than a century should be standing elsewhere.

“I think that a lot of people now have started to reflect on what the statue means to a lot of people in Hopkins County and how it creates an active sense of hurt when they pass under it,” said Schweizer.
Four supporters of its removal spoke to magistrates in one of their first chances to address the fiscal court in person.

“It’s hurtful to them, so it’s hurtful to me,” said Jessica Short during today’s meeting, who supports the statue being moved from where it currently is.

It happens weeks after Daviess County Commissioners decided to start a committee to look for a new place for their statue, and months after online petitions started. More 7,000 signed to remove it. About 4,500 signed to keep it where it is.

“We hope that that will be a plus leading in to this meeting because we were hoping just to catch some of that momentum coming out of Daviess County and their decision,” said Bill McReynolds of the African American Coalition of Hopkins Co.

No decision was made on the statue by the fiscal court. Judge Executive Jack Whitfield says those wanting to keep the statue expressed interest in addressing the court. He adds the influence of those petitions will depend on what each magistrate does.

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(This story was originally published on August 18, 2020) 

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