University of Texas removing three Confederate statues

University of Texas removing three Confederate statues

A small crowd watched as statues of Robert E. Lee, Albert Sidney Johnston, John Reagan and James Stephen Hogg were removed from the university's Main Mall.

Early Saturday, Duke University removed a statue of General Lee that had been vandalized, while protesters have called for the statue of a Confederate soldier on the campus of the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill to be removed.

University of Texas spokesman Gary Susswein said the bronze statues on the Austin campus would be removed at night and without advance public warning, for safety reasons.

Last weekend, a large group of white supremacists, carrying firearms and torches, gathered in Charlottesville, Virginia to protest the removal of a confederate statue in Emancipation Park. The statues were prominently displayed at the University of Texas at Austin.

"These events make it clear, now more than ever, that Confederate monuments have become symbols of modern white supremacy and neo-Nazism", Fenves said in a statement.

University of Texas removing three Confederate statues
University of Texas removing three Confederate statues

Fenves said he made the decision to remove the statues after a discussion with students, university staff, and alumni. The Davis statue, which has been targeted by vandals and had come under increasing criticism, will be moved and placed in the school's Dolph Briscoe Center for American History as part of an educational display.

President Fenves worked with a task force following the 2015 church shooting in SC to evaluate the six statues installed by George Littlefield, a confederate veteran and regent, on the UT mall. Heather Heyer, 32, was killed when James A. Fields Jr. rammed his auto into a crowd of protestors at a "Unite the Right" rally.

"We do not choose our history, but we choose what we honor and celebrate on our campus", Fenves said. But he said 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".

Recent removals of Confederate statues has sparked backlash among an outspoken group of Americans who view the statues as symbols of USA history and southern culture.

Fenves noted that that the statues originated during a period of segregation in the United States.

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