Statue of Jefferson Davis Banished from Prominent Display on UT Campus

On August 30 the University of Texas (UT) removed the statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis from its pedestal in front of the school’s famous clock tower, banishing it to 18 months out of the public eye before it will be placed in a less-prominent history collection indoors.

The move follows a letter in which UT president Gregory L. Fenves wrote, “While every historical figure leaves a mixed legacy, I believe Jefferson Davis is in a separate category, and that it is not in the university’s best interest to continue commemorating him on our main mall.” The New York Times reports that Fenves sent that letter “to faculty and staff members” earlier in August.

The statue of Davis will be relocated to the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History where it will included in a history collection focused on slavery. However, that display will not be ready for public viewing until 2017.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans fought the removal of the statue. The Daily Texan reports that Kirk Lyons, “The attorney representing the Sons of Confederate Veterans, said the group filed a writ of injunction in the state Supreme Court on Friday,” but it was rejected.

It should be noted that the original push to remove the statue came from the UT student government in March. That push gained momentum following the heinous June 17 attack on black congregants at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church.

As reported by the Associated Press (AP), “The statue…[of the] president of the secessionist pro-slavery southern states…has been a target of vandalism as well as criticism that it is a symbol of racism and discrimination. Confederate symbols nationwide are being re-considered following the…mass shooting of members of a black church in Charleston, South Carolina.”

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