Letters to the Editor

Honor abolitionist Clay

Having spent a number of years in Lexington, I am very familiar with the statues of John Breckinridge and John Hunt Morgan. Like columnist Tom Eblen, I would not have felt a strong need to remove them as icons of the Confederacy. In light of current events, I’ve given it more thought and feel these statues need to find a new home in a location where more context can be offered about their lives and careers.

I suggest replacing them with a memorial to Cassius Marcellus Clay, who advocated abolition of slavery in the 1840s, a very unpopular stand in Lexington then. He published an anti-slavery newspaper, True American, in 1845 and had to defend it and its ideals against attempts to shut it down by pro-slavery elements in town with guns and cannons. Taken by the son of the wealthy slaveholder Green Clay, it was certainly a bold action. His active life will appeal to modern Kentuckians (Bowie knife fights, ambassador to Russia, marriage in his 90s to a young girl, etc.).

I wrote a term paper on him while a student at the University of Kentucky; visited his home, White Hall, outside Richmond, and was fascinated by this larger-than-life personage. Why not glorify him in bronze, a true patriot of whom Lexington can be proud?

Roy Compton