Workers removing the statue of a Confederate president from the Kentucky state capitol found a bottle of alcohol and a newspaper dated from the day it was first erected.
On Saturday, a statue of Confederate president and politician Jefferson Davis was formally removed from the Kentucky State Capitol Building in Frankfurt.
‘After calling for its removal and urging the Historic Properties Advisory Commission to act, today I pressed the button to bring it down,’ Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear wrote on Twitter.
‘Now, every child who walks into their Capitol feels welcome. Today we took a step forward for the betterment of every single Kentuckian.’
A statue of Jefferson Davis, a former president of the Confederate states, was removed from the Kentucky State Capitol building on Friday
Gov. Andy Beshear of Kentucky praised the statue’s removal on Twitter after the The Kentucky Historic Properties Advisory Commission held a vote on Friday
The Jefferson Davis statue is the latest confederate monument to be removed amid ongoing protests over police brutality, systematic racism and the death of George Floyd.
But it’s the items workers discovered hidden inside the base of the statue that caught everyone’s attention: a bottle of Glenmore Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey and a copy of the State Journal newspaper from October 20, 1936.
WLKY reports that there was a piece of paper found inside the bottle, but others said the bottle was empty.
The Kentucky Historic Properties Advisory Commission voted on Friday to remove the statue from the capitol building to a state park in Davis’ birthplace of Fairview, Kentucky.
Workers removing the statue discovered a bottle of Glenmore Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey and a copy of the State Journal newspaper from October 20, 1936 – the day the statue was erected
The commission met via teleconference and voted 11-1 to take down the 15-foot marble statue of Jefferson Davis that stood for 84 years.
He was placed in the Kentucky State Capitol Building at the request of the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1936 – a time characterized by the Jim Crow laws of the South.
A statute of Abraham Lincoln, who opposed slavery culturally and politically, will still stand in the capitol building.
Critics attempted to have the statue removed in 2017 – in response to the violent white supremacist rally Unite the Right – but the Historic Properties Advisory Commission voted to keep it.
The Jefferson Davis statue stood for 84 years in the Kentucky capitol building (pictured), as well as a statue of US President Abraham Lincoln
Members of the Kentucky Historic Properties Advisory Commission argued that Davis’ past, which includes slavery and racism against African-Americans – should not be included within the government building
They instead removed a plaque that dubbed Davis a ‘war hero.’
Davis was born June 3. 1808 and graduated from the US Military Academy at West Point in 1828.
He later served in the Mexican-American war, as well as represented Mississippi in the US Senate and House of Representatives.
But his overarching career as a politician is marred by a history of racism, slavery and fierce opposition to African-American civil rights after the Confederacy fell.
‘African slavery, as it exists in the United States, is a moral, a social and a political blessing,’ Davis once said.
Calls to remove the statue from the capitol building’s Rotunda, which sees thousands of visitors annually, have been voiced by politicians on both sides of the aisle for years.
Nemes: ‘We honor our history — the good and the bad — but in this room is what we want to celebrate. And I think it’s a wonderful thing that we don’t want to celebrate Jeff Davis anymore’
The Jefferson Davis statue has been removed from the Kentucky capitol building and will be transferred to a park in the senator’s birthplace
Republican Rep. Jason Nemes, of Louisville told The Courier-Journal: ‘Today is a symbol we are moving ahead. It’s a recognition of the sins of our past.’
‘We honor our history — the good and the bad — but in this room is what we want to celebrate. And I think it’s a wonderful thing that we don’t want to celebrate Jeff Davis anymore.’
Cathy Thomas, of the historic properties panel, argued for the statue’s removal.
‘He enslaved human beings, he rebelled against the United States of America,’ Thomas, who is African-American, told the commission.
‘He is a symbol of the Confederacy that might still have me in chains.’
Other commission members argued removing the statue was giving way to a ‘cultural movement’ that would eventually expel other historical figures.
Some commission members argued that removing the Jefferson Davis’ statue will open up a ‘Pandora’s Box’ and led to more statues of historical figures being removed
Wilson:’I believe Gov. Beshear is politicizing this as a weapon, using our board as a weapon to get his agenda over’
‘I believe Gov. Beshear is politicizing this as a weapon, using our board as a weapon to get his agenda over,’ said Brandon Wilson, who alone voted to keep the statue as is.
Wilson attempted to pass a motion that would stop the removal of all statues, including the Abraham Lincoln Statue, but was overruled.
Commission panelist Jon Park cast a ‘reluctant’ vote to remove the statue, but was conflicted over potentially opening a ‘Pandora’s Box’ that could prompt more statue removals.
Park said not all of Davis’ life should be overshadowed by his racist behavior.
‘His early history, he was the things that were on that plaque that was removed by this commission — hero, statesman, patriot — he was those things,’ Park told The Courier-Journal.
‘He took a bad career choice. He did something he shouldn’t have done.’
During his life, Davis owned at least 113 slaves and was a proponent of expanding slavery into neighboring states.
Pictured: A caged statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis is strapped to a truck after being removed from the state capital in Frankfort, Kentucky
Pictured: Workers hoist a statue of Jefferson Davis after removing it from the the Kentucky state Capitol in Kentucky
This Jefferson Davis statue is one of many Confederate monuments that has been removed in recent weeks amid protests against police brutality and violence
In 1848, the then-senator proposed an amendment to annex part of Mexico where several southerners wanted to expand slavery.
He supported the US seizing Cuba to ‘increase the number of slaveholding constituencies,’ as well as resigned from the Senate in protest after Mississippi seceded from the Union in 1861.
Davis was later captured and charged with treason after the Civil War, but was pardoned by President Andrew Johnson.
He refused to take an oath of allegiance to regain citizenship and died in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1889.
Davis’ American citizenship was restored posthumously in 1978 by Congress.
Amid protest related to George Floyd, a 46-year-old African American man who died in police custody, several other Confederate monuments have been downed over their connection to slavery and racism.
Cell phone footage showed Floyd pleading ‘I can’t breathe’ while a white officer, Derek Chauvin, knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes. He later died.
On Wednesday, another Jefferson Davis statue was torn down by protesters in Richmond, Virginia.
A police officer stands near the toppled statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, as a person takes images of the statue along Monument Drive, Wednesday night
The statue in the former capital of the Confederacy was toppled shortly before 11 p.m. and was on the ground in the middle of an intersection, news outlets reported.
Richmond police were on the scene and videos on social media showed the monument being towed away as a crowd cheered.
A large crowd gathered around and sang as crews removed the statue from the road and drove away.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam last week ordered the removal of an iconic statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, which is four blocks away from where the Davis statue stood.
‘In Virginia, we no longer preach a false version of history. One that pretends the Civil War was about state rights and not the evils of slavery. No one believes that any longer,’ Northam said.
‘And in 2020, we can no longer honor a system that was based on the buying and selling of enslaved people.’