The University of Texas at Austin removed four Confederate monuments from their prominent spots on campus in the middle of the night on Sunday, according to the Austin American-Statesman. The bronze statues of Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and Albert Sidney Johnston and Confederate Postmaster John H. Reagan will be moved to the university’s Briscoe Center for American History, UT President Gregory Fenves said on Sunday, when he abruptly announced the decision to remove the monuments from the campus' South Mall.
The statue of James Stephen Hogg, who was the first Texas native to be governor and the son of a Confederate general, might be reinstalled elsewhere on campus. UT's sudden decision comes amid a national movement pushing for the removal of Confederate monuments. The cities of Baltimore and New Orleans recently got rid of multiple monuments overnight, after a 32-year-old counter-protester was killed and dozens more were injured in Charlottesville, Virginia.
"The horrific displays of hatred at the University of Virginia and in Charlottesville shocked and saddened the nation," Fenves said in a statement on the monument removals. "These events make it clear, now more than ever, that Confederate monuments have become symbols of modern white supremacy and neo-Nazism. 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. Erected during the period of Jim Crow 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. The University of Texas at Austin has a duty to preserve and study history. But our duty also compels us to acknowledge that those parts of our history that run counter to the university’s core values, the values of our state and the enduring values of our nation do not belong on pedestals in the heart of the Forty Acres."