The University of Texas in Austin has announced the statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis will move from its current location on the South Mall to the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History. The history center is located at nearly the opposite end of the campus across the street from the Lyndon Baines Johnson Presidential Library.
The statue of the first president of the Confederate States of America, the nation which governed over Texas from 1861-1865, will be moved to an indoor location and in a location that will be more within its historical context. The other for statues with Confederate connections will remain in their current locations, according to a report in the Dallas Morning News.
“James Stephen Hogg, Albert Sidney Johnston, and John Reagan had deep ties to Texas,” UT President Gregory Fenves wrote in a letter addressed to the UT community. “Robert E. Lee’s complicated legacy to Texas and the nation should not be reduced to his role in the Civil War.”
The Briscoe Center is a part of the UT Campus. Its role is to be a “leading history research center, we collect, preserve, and make available documentary and material culture evidence encompassing key themes in Texas and U.S. history. Researchers, students, and the public use our collections for a wide range of academic, professional, and personal uses. Our collections also inspire our own projects, including books, exhibits, programs, films, and educational materials,” according to its website.
“This combination of locating the Jefferson Davis statue in a center devoted to history and keeping the remaining statues along the Main Mall is both respectful of the heritage that is important to many and serves as a poignant display of our nation’s and university’s history,” the UT president explained.
A statue of U.S. President Woodrow Wilson will also be moved, but only for reasons of architectural symmetry. For some unexplained reason the Davis and Wilson statues stood side by side at the head of the main mall overseeing the South Mall lawn. The statues currently stand just south of the famous UT Tower.
President Fenves said that Jefferson Davis had few ties to Texas. He said the former Confederate president “played a unique role in the history of the American South that is best explained and understood through an educational exhibit. The Briscoe Center has the expertise to do that,” according to the Austin American-Statesman.
Breitbart Texas provided extensive coverage of UT students protesting against the presence of the statue in the wake of the South Carolina shootings of nine members of a black church by a man who had been seen in pictures posing with a Confederate Battle Flag. Three statues with ties to the Confederacy had been repeatedly vandalized.
No date for the completion of the statue moving projects has been announced.