This story has been updated. See note below.
A group called ‘Paducah Residents’ has started an online petition seeking the removal and replacement of Confederate monuments in the city and the renaming of a school named after the wife of a Confederate general.
The Change.org petition says the monuments represent an era of African American oppression and slavery and gloss over historic violence. The letter also says the monuments serve to promote a “retelling of history that allows slave owners and bigots to be seen as heroes, and continues to embolden and empower racist and white nationalist event today.”
The petition specifically calls for the removal of the General Lloyd Tilghman statue from Fountain Square and for the renaming of Paducah Tilghman High School, which is named after Augusta Tilghman, General Lloyd Tilghman's wife. It also calls for the removal of any dedication to the Confederate cause on publicly-funded land.
Upon garnering 500 signatures, the letter will be sent to the Mayor and City Commission seeking an outline and commitment for removal and a replacement plan to instead commemorate those who “fought the oppression of slavery, championed for emancipation and, celebrate the beauty of freedom.” The petition had 841 signatures as of Wednesday morning.
Neither Mayor Brandi Harless nor Paducah Tilghman High School Principal Art Davis were available for comment.
Note: This story has been corrected to state that the high school was named after Augusta Tilghman, the wife of Confederate General Lloyd Tilghman, according to the school's history page. We had incorrectly stated that the school was named after the general.