A Jefferson Davis statue in Texas was taken down today since some claimed the Confederate monument was inextricably tied to slavery. The Sons of Confederate Veterans, a Confederate statue heritage group, had sued to stop the University of Texas at Austin from removing the Jefferson Davis monument, but a judge ruled against them.
In a related report by the Inquisitr, a teen flying a Confederate flag on his truck ran over an African-American child and was then attacked by witnesses. The shooting of a Texas deputy has been linked to the Black Lives Matter movement by the sheriff’s office.
Don Carleton, executive director of the Briscoe Center for American History at UT, claims the Jefferson Davis statue was commissioned in 1933 to remind everyone of states’ rights in relation to the federal government. But some Texas students, like Jamie Nalley, believed the Confederate monument only served as a reminder of the American Civil War and slavery.
“We thought, there are those old ties to slavery and some would find it offensive,” he said.
In 1861, Jefferson Davis’ speech to the Senate explained why he believed a state had the right to secede from the Union.
“It is known to Senators who have served with me here, that I have for many years advocated, as an essential attribute of State sovereignty, the right of a State to secede from the Union… It has been a conviction of pressing necessity, it has been a belief that we are to be deprived in the Union of the rights which our fathers bequeathed to us, which has brought Mississippi into her present decision. She has heard proclaimed the theory that all men are created free and equal, and this made the basis of an attack upon her social institutions; and the sacred Declaration of Independence has been invoked to maintain the position of the equality of the races. That Declaration of Independence is to be construed by the circumstances and purposes for which it was made… They have no reference to the slave.”
Following the actions of Charleston shooter Dylann Roof, efforts to have the Jefferson Davis monument removed only intensified. The statue was defaced by the Black Lives Matter movement and the University of Texas students began pushing harder for change.
“We just believe the statue represents a history of racism and intolerance, and it has no place on this campus, which is a beacon of bringing all different kinds of people together and promoting diversity,” said Taral Patel, chief of staff for the UT Student Government.
The Texas Historical Commission has recognized more than 1,000 sites which honor the memory of the Confederacy. The Sons of Confederate Veterans believes these efforts to create even more Confederate monument sites are not racist or offensive.
“I don’t think we’re trying to put up stuff just to put up stuff,” said Marshall Davis, spokesman for the Sons of Confederate Veterans in Texas. “We don’t want to impede anyone else from honoring their heroes. We would like to honor our heroes with the same consideration, tolerance, and diversity. The fact that the state of Texas joined the Confederate States of America is history. It happened. It’s not a matter of opinion.”
Eventually, the university decided to remove the Jefferson Davis statue from the college’s grounds. The Sons of Confederate Veterans sued to stop the monument’s removal, but a judge ruled against them last week.
— Bryce Seifert (@bryceseifert) August 30, 2015
According to University President Gregory Fenves, the Confederate statue will be relocated, not destroyed.
“While every historical figure leaves a mixed legacy, I believe Jefferson Davis is in a separate category, and that it is not in the university’s best interest to continue commemorating him on our Main Mall,” Fenves said, according to ABC. “Davis had few ties to Texas; he played a unique role in the history of the American South that is best explained and understood through an educational exhibit.”
According to the International Business Times, the Jefferson Davis statue will be refurbished and then installed within the Briscoe Center for American History as part of a museum exhibit. Gregory Vincent, UT’s Vice President for Diversity and Community, says putting the Confederate monument in the Briscoe Center is “far from whitewashing or erasing history.” Instead, he argues the placement puts the statue “in the proper historical context.”
[Image via The Dallas Morning News]