Saturday, June 9, 2012

739. Jose Marti to be restored

Longtime readers might recall a few early entries on the blog concerning the former Cuban leader Jose Marti and his missing statue in Shively Park.

On February 27, 2007, I wrote the following: 

In my post written for Saint Valentine's Day, but posted a day later, I included a picture of some Cuban ex-pats at a Mass celebrated at Saint Helen's Church in Shively. The purpose of that celebration was the installation of a statue of Jose Marti, a leading figure in Cuban history from the 19th century. The international airport in Havana is named in his honor. Marti was also a poet and one of his poems was set to music in the 1960s in the popular song Guantanamera. The Mass took place in September, 1963. The statue was erected in the Shively City Park behind City Hall. It was dedicated to those Jefferson Countians who fought in Cuba in the the Battle of Cardenas (the Filibusters) on May 19, 1850. Sometime in 2003 or 2004, the City of Shively tore down the monument and its present whereabouts are not clear.

As I had in the past pointed the statue out to Cuban refugeess who have made their American home here along the Left Bank of the Ohio River at Milepost 606, I've been curious for some time as to the purpose of removing the monument, but have not made any serious inquiries. Why would you tear down a monument dedicated to Jefferson Countians? I need to ask this question of either my friend Jim Jenkins, the former mayor of Shively, or his successor, Sherry Connor, whom I met during last fall's Shively festival when she and her mother visited the campaign booth of John Yarmuth, at the time a candidate for Congress. There is a little known movement led by Antonio de la Cova to restore the monument.
That was followed on March 12, 2007, with this:
A while back I wrote about the Jose Marti statue which had disappeared from Shively Park. I had spoken to State Representative Joni Jenkins about it, since her father had been mayor of Shively when it was removed. She didn't have encouraging news. My friend Marty Meyer, who works for Congressman John Yarmuth, mentioned it at a luncheon he and I shared a few weeks ago with Stuart Perelmuter, Yarmuth's Washington based Press Secretary, at Otto's in the Seelbach. He had read about Jose here on the blog. Today Marty has called with news of Jose's whereabouts. According to Shively Mayor Sherry Connor, the remnants are at the Boone National Guard Center in Frankfort. How or why they are there I do not know, but this will be looked into further.
Now, to be honest, between then and now I've done very little to locate Marti's missing bust.  Nor have I heard anyone else mention it.  So, I was surprised and pleased, very pleased, when reading over the City of Shively Council minutes from April 2, 2012 - more than five years after my blog entry and nearly eight years since the statue's disappeance - to see the following exchange between Shively city officials:   
Mr. Dummitt asked what was Muldoon Memorials?
Mitzi Kasitz, City Clerk said it was approved to have Jose’ Marti brought back.
Mayor Conner said it is the bust that has been in Shively Park for years.
Mr. Dummitt then said I guess since it’s been approved, didn’t he support Fidel Castro?
Mr. Cato, City Attorney said he preceded Fidel Castro.
Mr. Dummitt said I misunderstood and if he did support Fidel Castro, then he was for
communism but that’s not what this is.
Mr. Wathen asked where is it going?
Mayor Conner said it’s going in the park at the triangle where the walking path goes all
the way around.
Apparently someone knew where the  bust was and/or located it in the ensuing five years.  However the return of the bust was achieved, I am very happy to see its restoration in Shively Park.  Good work, Mayor Sherry Conner and the City of Shively.

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The Archives at Milepost 606


Louisville, Kentucky, United States
Never married, liberal Democrat, born in 1960, opinionated but generally pleasant, member of the Episcopal Church. Graduate of Prestonia Elementary, Durrett High, and Spalding University; the first two now-closed Jefferson County Public Schools, the latter a very small liberal arts college in downtown Louisville affiliated with the Roman Catholic Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. My vocation and avocation is politics. My favorite pastime is driving the backroads of Kentucky and southern Indiana, visiting small towns, political hangouts, courthouses, churches, and cemeteries. You are welcome to ride with me sometime.