Aug. 21 (UPI) — Statues of four Confederate leaders were taken down early Monday at the University of Texas at Austin, just minutes after the school president announced the plan.
In a statement, President Greg Fenves said statues of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston, Postmaster John H. Reagan, and James Stephen Hogg — Texas’ first native-born governor and a son of a Confederate general — would be removed from the school’s south mall.
“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,” Fenves said late Sunday, a reference to protests a week earlier in Charlottesville, Va., where support to preserve a statue of Lee led to protests and counter-protests. A woman died after being struck by a car driven by one of the protesters.
University of Texas spokesman Gary Susswein said the bronze statues on the Austin campus would be removed at night and without advance public warning, for safety reasons.
The plan was similar to that of Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh, who had four monuments related to the Confederacy removed last week in her city. She said the decision was prompted by fears of violence.
The Lee, Johnston an Reagan statures will be moved to the school’s Briscoe Center for American History, Fenves said in his statement. The Hogg statue will be “considered for re-installation at another campus site.”
The school removed a statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis from its pedestal in 2015.