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Confederate Statues Removed from Texas University
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UT Austin

Summary: Four statues were removed overnight from the University of Texas at Austin that had ties to the Confederacy.

People may notice a change when they go on campus at The University of Texas at Austin. The school removed four confederacy statues during the night to keep in line with the country’s fight to denounce white supremacy. The quartet of statues quietly removed were of John Reagan, Robert E. Lee, Albert Sidley Johnston and James Stephen Hogg. The university plans on relocating the statues to another place on campus other than the Main Mall.

  
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University President Gregory Fenves confirmed the removal was a result of the “horrific displays of hatred at the University of Virginia and in Charlottesville. These events make it clear, now more than ever, that Confederate monuments have become symbols of modern white supremacy and neo-Nazism.”

The new home for Lee, Johnston, and Reagan will be in a collection of the Briscoe Center for scholarly study where they will be displayed in historical context. Hogg, a Texas governor from 1891 to 1895 “will be considered for re-installation at another campus site.”

A number of cities and schools have already taken steps to remove Confederate statues because of their ties to slavery but the pressure has been increased due to the recent violence and hatred centered around the statues. Critics to the removal of Confederate related landmarks argue that removing them is like hiding important moments in U.S. history.

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UT Austin’s removal of their Confederate statues is in line with another trend – removing the controversial landmarks during the night to avoid protests that often turn violent like the Charlottesville one. Students arrive to start the new term in just a few days, making the timing and prevention of protests even more significant. Fenves said, “As UT students return in the coming week, I look forward to welcoming them here for a new academic year with a recommitment to an open, positive and inclusive learning environment for all.”

Baltimore removed four statues “quickly and quietly” last week during the night.



Fenves said, “We do not choose our history, but we choose what we honor and celebrate on our campus.” The school relocated statues of Woodrow Wilson and Jefferson Davis in 2015 from the Main Mall. This removal was in response to the shooting in Charleston at a black church by a white supremacist.

Fenves understands that it is important for schools to not hide history but the “historical and cultural significance of the Confederate statues on our campus – and the connections that individuals have with them – are severely compromised by what they symbolize.” He explained, “Erected during the period of Jim Crows laws and segregation, the statues represent the subjugation of African Americans. That remains true today for white supremacists who use them to symbolize hatred and bigotry.”

Do you think Confederate landmarks should be removed? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below.

Students at Harvard started several years ago petitioning the school to remove its connections to slavery. To learn more about their efforts, read these articles:

Photo: commons.wikimedia.org



 

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