By Brendan O’Brien
(Reuters) – A Confederate monument will be removed from the grounds of University of Louisville, a gesture that school and city officials said on Friday is intended to spur diversity and inclusion on campus.
The monument, a commemoration to Kentuckians who fought and died for the Confederacy during the Civil War, will be cleaned and kept in storage until an appropriate location is selected, University of Louisville President James Ramsey and Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced.
“This monument represents our history — a painful part of our nation’s history for many — and it’s best moved to a new location,” Fischer said in a statement.
The Kentucky Woman’s Monument Association gave the monument to the city in 1895.
Public symbols of the Confederacy including the Confederate flag have been the center of controversy across the U.S. South after a white gunman allegedly shot dead nine black worshipers at a historic church in Charleston, South Carolina in July 2015.
The accused gunman Dylann Roof who posed with the flag in photos posted online faces federal hate crime charges.
Opponents consider the Confederate flag and statues of Confederate leaders emblems of slavery that has become a rallying symbol for racism and xenophobia in the United States.
Supporters say they are symbols of the South’s history and culture, as well a memorial to the roughly 480,000 Confederate casualties during the 1861-65 Civil War.
The University of Louisville Diversity Committee listed the statue’s removal as “one of their highest priorities to improve diversity and inclusion on campus,” the school said in a statement.
(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee; Editing by Kim Coghill)