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The Murray State News

The Murray State News

The Murray State News

Murray State University supports the removal of Confederate statue

Photo courtesy of
Photo courtesy of

Paige Bold

Contributing Writer 

[email protected] 


Murray State’s administration is one of the many members of the community calling for the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue in downtown Murray, a sentiment echoed around the country.

“Murray State University, like the City of Murray, firmly supports the relocation of the statue,” said Shawn Touney, director of marketing and communication. 

On June 1, Murray State Assistant Football Coach Sherman Neal drafted a letter to city officials asking them to remove the Confederate monument that resides on the court square because it is offensive to all residents who support equality.

“The construction and dedication of the statue in 1917 coincided with the resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan in the Purchase area, adoption of the neo-confederate sponsored ‘lost cause’ myth, lynching’s and concerted state efforts to curtail civil rights for black citizens, Robert E. Lee, the commander of the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia, does not have significant historical ties to the city or Murray civil war veterans serving in the confederacy,” Neal said in his letter. “When my 3-year-old son and 2-year-old daughter ask ‘who’s that man and why is he up there?’ I will inform them that the city worked in conjunction with the Daughters of the Confederacy and the Ku Klux Klan by proxy, to place him up there with the intent to keep black people quiet and subservient.”

After Neal’s letter was released, Former Racer Ja Morant joined him in calling for the removal of the monument. 

“Murray felt like a second home from the minute I stepped on campus and became a part of the Murray State community,” Morant said in his letter. “It is full of people, families and students from all different backgrounds. As a young Black man, I cannot stress enough how disturbing and oppressive it is to know the city still honors a Confederate war general defending white supremacy and hatred.”

The Department of English and Philosophy and the Department of History also released a public letter asking for the immediate removal of the statue. The Department of English and  Philosophy employees 41 full- and part-time instructors who are all hoping for a change. 

“Whatever the intentions of those who initially installed the statue, its continued existence at the center of our city as a public monument that celebrates a Confederate war general is an affront to those who deplore the racism and slavery that the Civil War sought to overturn,” according to the letter written by the Department of English and Philosophy. 

A petition has also been circulating through social media to remove the Confederate monument. As of press time, the petition has almost 10,000 signatures and several comments in support. Individuals have also been commenting on Facebook post and live streams. 

On Wednesday, June 17, the Calloway County Fiscal Court met to discuss the removal of the monument. The live stream of the meeting can be found on The News Facebook page. 

The Murray City Council met on June 11, to discuss normal matters, but also the removal of the statue. A representative at the meeting mentioned moving the statue to the Murray cemetery. 

“What we show to visitors and to members of our community who are people of color that we value the legacy of the confederacy,” a member said. “This statue is useless to me as a teacher of history, as an example from my students because if you go to that statue you don’t see Lee’s name and you don’t see any soldier’s names. Right now it is a shrine, it’s not a historic object.” 

Another Murray resident suggested that the statue be replaced with a statue of Ja Morant. 

There are no official plans for the removal of the monument. Stay tuned with The News as we report updates regarding the statue.

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