The dayslong process of taking down a Confederate monument in Louisville, Kentucky began over the weekend, Reuters reported. The move to disassemble the monument came at a time when cities in the south have increasingly begun to remove symbols related to the Civil War. Most notably, South Carolina removed the Confederate flag from its statehouse grounds last year.
In Kentucky, the 121-year-old monument depicting Confederate soldiers from the Civil War had long been controversial. It stood near the University of Louisville, which led to students and staff raising issues with the monument honoring soldiers that fought for slavery. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and then-University of Louisville President James Ramsey said they planned to bring it down in April.
"I recognize that some people say this monument should stay because it is part of our history. But I also appreciate that we can make our own history," Fischer said in a statement at the time. "The stain of slavery and racism that this monument represents for many, many people has no place in a compassionate, forward leaning city."
A group of Louisville residents and the Sons of Confederate Veterans opposed removing the monument and filed a lawsuit to block the city's plans. A judge ultimately sided with the city and the 70-foot statue will now be moved to the nearby town of Brandenburg, Kentucky, which hosts a Civil War re-enactment, reported NBC News.
"The mayor is pleased that we found a new home in a neighboring county that puts the monument in context at an historic Civil War site," Chris Poynter, a spokesman for Fischer, told NBC News in a statement.
Even at the 11th hour, however, the legal battle continued over the statue. A local man sought a federal injunction to prevent the city from sending the statue to Brandenburg, claiming the city government didn't own the monument and couldn't ship it away, the Louisville Courier-Journal reported. The man who filed suit, Brennan James Callan, said to the local paper that the removal was discriminatory to veterans and neglected the city's history.
"That's what ISIS is doing, tearing down monuments so they can forget history and say what they want to say," Callan said.