UK Happenings

American Monuments: Kentucky Law Journal Symposium Sets the Legal Stage

Artwork depicting a silhouette of statue featuring a man on horseback, floral accents in orange, blue and red, as well as a letter written on white paper
Kentucky Law Journal logo in white lettering set on navy blue circle background

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 25, 2019) — The University of Kentucky College of Law will play host to the annual Kentucky Law Journal Symposium, “Written in Stone: American Monuments and Monument-Protection Law,” beginning 8:45 a.m. Friday, Nov. 1. The event is free and open to the public with registration for the day preferred, but not required for attendance.

Symposium presenters range in expertise from social, cultural, racial and American history, the Civil War, political science and humanities, to constitutional law and urban policy. The topic of this year’s symposium explores a national and increasingly divisive debate: legal protection of controversial American monuments and statues.

"Monuments and the laws that protect them divide Americans today as never before,” said Zachary A. Bray, H. Wendell Cherry Associate Professor of Law. "This symposium brings together leaders in the study of these conflicts from local government, the bench and across academia for what promises to be a memorable and enlightening series of conversations. We are delighted to welcome these guests to the College of Law."

The symposium will kick off with a welcome from UK Law interim Dean Mary Davis followed by an opening keynote presentation by Sanford V. Levinson titled “Written in Stone — The Meaning of Public Monuments and Whether They Remain or Go.” The events will conclude with a walking tour of Lexington Cemetery starting 9 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 2, led by Phil Maxson of Lex History Tours.

UK presenters comprise current faculty including Vanessa Holden, Kathi Kern, Amy Murrell Taylor, Anastasia Curwood, Melynda J. Price and Zachary Bray. Former Lexington Mayor Jim Gray will present a conversation about the city’s Courthouse Square located downtown. Visiting speakers will feature faculty and public officials from across the country.

The Kentucky Law Journal aims to provide attendees with a collection of diverse perspectives on the controversial topic surrounding the future of monuments across the country.

"Monuments are the way we tell stories of the past and begin to make sense of our collective history," said Melynda J. Price, William L. Matthews, Jr. Professor of Law. "Who and what is memorialized in our public squares has increasingly been called into question. This symposium brings together local and national thinkers to discuss the legal and historical questions that do and should drive this debate."

The Kentucky Law Journal is the 10th oldest law review published by the nation's law schools. Publication has been continuous since 1881. Four issues are published annually by the University of Kentucky College of Law. The journal is edited entirely by a student editorial board, with guidance from a faculty advisor.

Each issue contains articles written by prominent national scholars and notes written by journal members encompassing a broad range of legal topics. 

Today, the Kentucky Law Journal continues to serve the legal and academic community as a forum for dynamic debate surrounding the law. It also provides students an indispensable educational element for high-performing students in the college. By publishing student works, it also functions as a forum for students’ activism.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.