Confederate Statue Sparks Slavery, Moral Debate in Owensboro
By: Zakk Gammon
Updated: September 12, 2012

Don Wilkins of the Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer wrote an editorial in the paper, saying the Confederate Soldier statue in front of the Daviess County Courthouse needs to be taken down because it promotes slavery. But not everyone agrees.

Driving by the statue on the corner of 3rd and Frederica Streets, one probably wouldn’t notice what’s written on it, but take a closer look, and it reads "To Our Confederate Heroes". While nearly everyone agrees slavery was bad, there is a debate going on about whether it should be here.

"What it stands for, we believe is bigotry, prejudice, and is against everything that our Founding Fathers ever stood for," said Steve Moreland of Owensboro. He believes the statue is a terrible representation of Daviess County.

"I assure you if George Washington was alive today and he was a resident of Daviess County, Kentucky, he would probably say the statue honoring Confederate soldiers is awful," he said.

But Moreland and Wilkins are two of the few who seem to share that opinion. Several groups have said it’s not about slavery. Members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans say it’s a way to remember how far we’ve come as a history.

In fact, the President of the Owensboro NAACP says it’s a non-issue.

"Minority unemployment is much higher than white unemployment. Minority incarceration is much disproportionate to the white community. Minority drop outs from high school is much higher. And it would be nice if the Messenger-Inquirer would focus its attention on things that actually impact the minority community rather than this statue," said President Evan Taylor. He says the statue is a way to remember the past, and while slavery may be immoral, he says the veterans should be represented.

"At the time, those folks were fighting for what they believed was right and we think veterans’ service should be honored in almost all its forms in this country," Taylor said. While many say removing this statue would be revising history, Moreland says it’s a piece of history that he wishes could be forgotten.

"It’s time for us to change and get with what American really stands for and remove that statue as soon as possible," he said.

Wilkins tells Eyewitness News he just wanted to express his opinion, and didn’t expect the topic to get this much feedback.

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