Mayor Greg Fischer announced Sunday that the Louisville Commission on Public Art would review its collection of public art to create a list of pieces that could be interpreted as honoring bigotry, racism and slavery.
The mayor’s remarks come one day after a violent scene erupted at a white nationalists rally in Charlottesville, Va., opposing the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. One person died and dozens were injured when a car plowed into a crowd of counter-protesters.
On Saturday, Lexington Mayor Jim Gray said he was taking steps to remove two Confederate-era statues from the lawn of the former Fayette County Courthouse on Main Street.
A Confederate monument at the University of Louisville was removed nearly one year ago.
“I recognize that some people say all these monuments should be left alone, because they are part of our history,” Fischer said. “But we need to discuss and interpret our history from multiple perspectives and from different viewpoints. That’s why a community conversation is crucial.”
“Both our human values and the future of our city depend on our ability to directly address the challenges that stop each and every citizen from realizing their potential. We, as a compassionate community, must again come together and face up to the stain of slavery and racism, as we move toward a future that embraces diversity as a strength,” Fischer said.
A statue at Cherokee Circle depicting Confederate officer John B. Castleman was vandalized Saturday night.
Castleman reached the rank of brigadier general and served as the military governor of Puerto Rico after the country was invaded during the Spanish-American War.
The 15-foot-tall statue was erected in 1913 and was placed on thein 1997.
Later in his life, Castleman supported segregating Cherokee Park.
Police received a call about the vandalism Sunday at 7:50 a.m. Louisville Metro Police spokeswoman Alicia Smiley said there were no words on the statue to determine who might have defaced the monument.
Metro Parks worked to clean up the area on Sunday.
“For many, this statue is a beloved neighborhood landmark, but for others, it’s a symbol of a painful, tragic and divisive time in our history — which gets at the complexity of this conversation,” the Mayor said. “I believe this is community conversation worth having.”