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Lexington Cemetery Board Tentatively OKs Taking Confederate Statues

Jim Gray Confederate Statues
Stu Johnson
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Lexington Mayor Jim Gray Announces Conditional Yes Response by Lexington Cemetery Trustees Regarding Movement of Confederate Statues

The Lexington Cemetery Board has given a "conditional yes” to accepting two Confederate statues now on the grounds of the city's historic old courthouse.

The cemetery's governing board gave its response Monday after Lexington Mayor Jim Gray and others stated their case.

During a late day City Hall briefing Monday, three speakers, including Mayor Gray, made it clear that more needs to be done before cemetery trustees give their final approval.

“We have days — not weeks — to build our application to the military heritage commission,” said Gray.

The Kentucky Military Heritage Commission — an independent agency attached to the Kentucky Heritage Council — has to give final permission to move the statues.

Reverend C.B. Aikens of First Baptist Church, Bracktown, said he’s optimistic the remaining issues can be worked out.

We’re citizens negotiating with citizens for citizens,” he said. “It’s better that we negotiate out whatever concerns that they have now than for them to have some remorse about it later on, because we want them to feel good about their decision as well."

Gray said security is one of the issues cemetery board members want to discuss. He said final negotiations should take place in the next few days.

The statues in question are of Confederate Gen. John Hunt Morgan and John C. Breckinridge, a U.S. vice president and Confederate Secretary of War.

The Lexington Fayette-Urban County Council last month gave unanimous approval to moving the statues from outside the city's former courthouse.