UT-Austin removes Confederate symbols from main campus

31 Aug 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Jefferson Davis statue removed from UT campus.

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — A statue of Jefferson Davis has been removed from its place on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin after a failed appeal by a Confederate heritage group.

About 100 students, university staff members and other Austinites gathered to see the relocation of the controversial statue of the Confederate president. Confederate symbols nationwide are being re-considered following the recent mass shooting of members of a black church in Charleston, South Carolina. On August 13, UT president, Greg Fenves, agreed to move the statues to the school’s Dolph Briscoe Center for American History where they wouldd become part of a new historical exhibit. “As a public university, it is vital that we preserve and understand our history and help our students and the public learn from it in meaningful ways,” said Fenves in a statement on Aug. 13.

The statues, like many memorials to Confederates, date from what is called the “Lost Cause” era of the early Twentieth Century, well after the scars of war had healed and Southern veterans began popularizing a view of the antebellum South which downplayed slavery and focused on he supposed bravery and honor of the Southern people. The removal of both statues were originally scheduled for August 15, until the Sons of Confederate Veterans filed a temporary restraining order attempting to prevent the University from doing so. However, they’ve been a point of contention as of recently due to many students advocating removing the pieces, especially following the shooting in Charleston. “I disagree with the idea that Jefferson Davis, the Confederate flag or any other historical items are symbols of slavery and hate.

The judge did not grant the restraining order, and UT-Austin was allowed to proceed with removing the statues. “When we were making fun of it back in March, we didn’t think it would result in anything but resparking a debate,” said Xavier Rotnofsky, UT-Austin Student Body’s President and a driving force behind removing the statue. The confederate or “The South” stood for state’s right, capitalism, a smaller government and conservative beliefs,” Jimenez says. “Jefferson Davis had few ties to Texas, but played a unique role in the history of the American South that is best explained and understood through an educational exhibit,” he said. “The Briscoe Center has the expertise to do that.”

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