Residents, historians sue to keep Castleman statue in Cherokee Triangle

Residents, historians sue to keep Castleman statue in Cherokee Triangle
The controversial John B. Castleman statue that stands in Cherokee Triangle has been vandalized numerous times in the past year. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - A lawsuit has been filed in an attempt to keep the controversial John B. Castleman statue where it stands in Cherokee Triangle.

The Friends of Louisville Public Art, LLC, and other plaintiffs scheduled a news conference Monday afternoon to discuss their plans.

Those suing include several residents, historians and organizations such as The Friends of Louisville Public Art.

The group filed the complaint in Jefferson Circuit Court to appeal what they call the arbitrary and erroneous decision of the Landmarks Commission to allow the removal of the statue of Castleman, once a U.S. Army General, and his American Saddlebred horse Carolina.

When the Landmarks Commission made that vote last month, it left it open for the possibility of an appeal. The decision to actually be able to move the statue came after an architectural review committee originally voted to keep the statue where it is. That was following an appeal by the City of Louisville.

The group filing the lawsuit calls the statue a landmark of the area, as it’s been standing for 106 years.

They also said Castleman has been unfairly depicted.

“Castleman was a progressive of his day,” Steve Wiser, with Friends of Louisville Public Art, said. “He did not participate in any overt racial activities whatsoever. He actually saved African-Americans from lynching. He kept the parks integrated. The parks were not segregated until 1924 -- six years after his death.”

In May, there was mixed reaction to the decision to remove the statue.

“Everyone is just to afraid to take part in this discussion because they don’t want to be tagged as racist,” Lynn Horrar, who supports the current location of the Castleman statue, said.

Countered Kevin Afrika: “We can’t hold on to the past. We have to progress, and that means rethinking what our past has been.”

The Landmarks Commission already said there is an agreement in place to move the statue to Cave Hill Cemetery, should it be moved.

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