George Dennison Prentice is said to have helped incite a riot that killed Irish immigrants
A statue honoring newspaper editor George Dennison Prentice has been removed from it’s Louisville, Kentucky location.
The Courier-Journal reports that George Dennison Prentice was the founder of the Louisville Journal in the 1800s. As editor, he penned pro-slavery, anti-immigrant, and anti-Catholic pieces.
Among his writings, he called upon readers to rally against the “most pestilent influence of the foreign swarms" and referred to the Pope as “an inflated Italian despot who keeps people kissing his toes all day.”
Prentice’s writings are blamed for triggering what is now known as ‘Bloody Monday’ on August 6, 1855. On that day, members of the Know-Nothing party rioted and ended up killing 22 people as mobs tried to prevent Irish and German citizens from voting.
The statue in Prentice’s honor was first erected in 1875 and stood outside of the Courier-Journal building in Louisville, before being moved to the outside of the downtown public library in 1914.
In the past two years, the controversial statue has been vandalized twice.
Following research, discussions, and meetings, city planners opted to have the Prentice statue taken down back in August.
At the time, Mayor Greg Fischer said: “And while Prentice was founder and long-time editor of the Louisville Journal newspaper, he used that platform to advocate an anti-Catholic, anti-immigrant message that led to the 1855 Bloody Monday riot where 22 people were killed.”
He added: “Moving these statues does not erase history. Moving these statues allows us to examine our history in a new context that more accurately reflects the reality of the day, a time when the moral deprivation of slavery is clear.”
This week in a statement, Mayor Fischer said the statue of Prentice “is especially inappropriate outside the library, a place that encourages education, inclusiveness, and compassion."
For St. Patrick’s Day 2015, the Courier-Journal reported on a group of Irish Americans who took time to memorialize the Irish killed in their city on Bloody Monday in 1855.
"I'd like for people to understand that as Irish people we hold dear our past and we remember things like this," said Mark Wakefield, "and make sure it's remembered for all time."
Julia Garrison-Wood said, "People become complacent; we just don't want them to forget.”
Prentice’s statue is now in a city storage facility.
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