by Wareez Odunayo
The president of the University of Texas at Austin, Gregory Fenves has ordered the removal of Robert E. Lee and three other Confederate era figures; Albert Sidney Johnston, John Reagan and James Stephen Hogg statues from a main area of campus.
Lee and Johnston were Confederate generals, Reagan was a Confederate postmaster and Hogg was the first native-born governor of Texas and the son of a Confederate general.
The school joins the growing list of institutions and cities across U.S to remove statues that honor leaders of the Confederacy.
Fenves in a letter to the University community said, “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”.
He noted that the statues “historical and cultural significance was compromised by what they symbolized, and noted that they were erected in the midst of Jim Crow and segregation and that they represented “the subjugation of African Americans.”
In the same vein, the university spokesman, J.B. Bird, said Monday that the school had decided to remove the statues at night “for public safety and to cause the least disruption to the university community.”
The statues were the latest to be removed this year, after the events in Charlottesville. Last week in Baltimore, four statues were removed in the middle of the night, in a swift operation similar to the one in Austin. On Saturday, Duke University in Durham, N.C., removed a statue of Lee from a campus chapel, days after protesters toppled a Confederate statue at the Durham County Courthouse.
In April and May, at night and under guard, New Orleans removed four Confederate statues that had been the subject of controversy for years.