Gov. Matt Bevin joined the Kentucky Black Legislative Caucus for a Black History Month celebration in the heart of the Kentucky Capitol Wednesday.
Singers with the historically black Kentucky State University Choir and Miss Kentucky Clark Janell Davis serenaded the Capitol from above as lawmakers and other guests reflected on the contributions of African-Americans in the commonwealth. Flanked by Bevin, Lt. Gov. Jenean Hampton, and House and Senate leaders, several speakers referenced a controversial statue located just feet away from the podium.
"When we consider the fact that, just a few months ago 73 percent of registered voters in the Bluegrass favored leaving the [Confederate President] Jefferson Davis statue in the Capitol Rotunda, what is Kentucky saying about us as African-Americans?" Lexington pastor and keynote Dr. Gerald Smith asked the audience.
Smith also wondered aloud about the future of KSU, whose president Raymond Burse recently said the institution could be forced to close if Bevin's proposed budget cuts are enacted.
Lawmakers recently gathered in the same space to honor the life and lasting influence of former Senator and civil rights leader Georgia Davis Powers.