White supremacy was dealt another defeating blow in the fight against the spread of bigotry across the United States Sunday night.
The University of Texas at Austin removed not only one but four statues memorializing the traitorous deeds of the Confederacy, which fought to keep slavery alive in America.
This was not the first time they removed a Confederate statue. In 2015, they moved a statue of Jefferson Davis to a museum. This time around the four statues that came down were of Robert E. Lee, Confederate General Albert Sidney Johnston, Confederate Postmaster General John H. Reagan, and former Texas Governor James Stephen Hogg.
The process of removing the statues began late Sunday night, and the announcement was made by email at around 11 p.m. The move to remove the statues at night was done as a safety precaution especially after the outbreak of violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. That violence is what spurred the decision of the university to go ahead and remove the statues.
The president of the university Greg Fenves wrote:
‘Last week, the horrific displays of hatred at the University of Virginia and in Charlottesville shocked and saddened the nation. These events make it clear, now more than ever, that Confederate monuments have become symbols of modern white supremacy and neo-Nazism.’
Fenves spoke with a wide pool of students, staff, and former alumni about what to do regarding the statues.
‘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.’
A few demonstrators did show up; however, they were surrounded by a heavy police presence. One student told NBC News that he did not support the removal of the statues.
‘I hate the erasure of history and my people’s history … people of European descent who built this country. It burns me to my core.’
However, another demonstrator supported the removal of the statues and remarked:
‘They have no other reasons than “you are erasing our history.” Their reasoning is flawed. These monuments represent white supremacy, and black lives haven’t mattered in this country the same as a white man’s matters.’
Three of the statues are set to be transferred to the Briscoe Center for American History.
You can watch a news report about the removal of the statues below.
Feature image by Ty Wright/Getty Images.