Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

University of Texas in Austin Removes Confederate Statues

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

University of Texas in Austin Removes Confederate Statues

Article excerpt

AUSTIN, Texas - University of Texas president Greg Fenves ordered the immediate removal of statues of Robert E. Lee and other prominent Confederate figures from a main area of campus, saying such monuments have become "symbols of modern white supremacy and neo-Nazism."

There was a heavy police presence, and some arguments occurred among those gathered, after Mr. Fenves announced the move late Sunday and crews began removing the statues. The school blocked off the area, and the statues were expected to be gone by mid-morning Monday, a spokesman said.

Mr. Fenves said statues of Gen. Lee, Confederate Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston and Confederate Postmaster General John H. Reagan will be moved to the Briscoe Center for American History on campus. In 2015, the university moved a statue of former Confederate President Jefferson Davis from its perch near the campus clock tower, the same area as the other statues, to the history museum.

Early Monday, crews first removed a statue of former Texas Gov. James Stephen Hogg, which was commissioned at the same time as the others, a spokesman said. Mr. Hogg will get another place on campus.

Less than 30 people, both supporters and opponents of Mr. Fenves' order, congregated after midnight behind barricades near the statues. Among them was Mark Peterson, 22, who identified himself as a University of Houston student. He was seething at the removal of the statues.

"I hate the erasure of history and my people's history ... people of European descent who built this country," he said. "It burns me to my core."

Mike Lowe, an activist for the removal of Confederate statues in San Antonio, was driving to Dallas when he heard the statues were coming down, turned around and drove to campus. Mr. Lowe, 37, who is African-American, engaged in a brief but tense argument with a white male protester until police stepped in to separate them.

"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," Mr. Lowe said.

Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick on Monday said he was given no advance notice the University of Texas was removing the statues. …

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