Students wake up to find Confederate statues taken down in Texas

(Stephen Spillman / for American-Statesman)

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University of Texas President Gregory L. Fenves announced late Sunday that four statues of people with Confederate ties would be removed from immediate public display on the campus. The school took them down late at night, citing public safety concerns.

Bronze sculptures of Confederate Gens. Robert E. Lee and Albert Sidney Johnston and Confederate Postmaster John H. Reagan were removed from their locations in Texas on Sunday night. The statues were prominently displayed at the University of Texas at Austin. UT President Gregory L. Fenves sent an announcement to students late on Sunday night that the three statues will be moved to the school’s history building.

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“The horrific displays of hatred at the University of Virginia and in Charlottesville shocked and saddened the nation,” Fenves wrote in a statement. “These events make it clear, now more than ever, that Confederate monuments have become symbols of modern white supremacy and neo-Nazism.”

Fenves noted that that the statues originated during a period of segregation in the United States.

“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,” Fenves added. “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.”

Another statue, of James Stephen Hogg, the son of a Confederate general and the first native Texan to be elected governor of the state, was also removed.

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