The University of Mississippi on Tuesday began the process of moving a Confederate monument that had stood in a prominent place on campus to a more remote corner of the school’s grounds ABC News reported.
Erected in 1906, the statue of a saluting Confederate soldier has stood near the city’s main administration building. Unlike other monuments of this kind, this one doesn’t reference a specific person such as General Robert E. Lee, but rather, a generic Confederate soldier.
For decades, the statue has been the subject of controversy. Critics say that it is a tacit endorsement of racism, as it honors men who fought to keep slavery legal, among other reasons. Indeed, in one incident in 1962, students rioted by the statue to protest court-ordered integration.
In 2016, the university installed a plaque intended to place the monument in a historical context.
“Although the monument was created to honor the sacrifice of Confederate soldiers, it must also remind us that the defeat of the Confederacy actually meant freedom for millions of people,” the plaque reads in part.
Nevertheless, in the wake of the George Floyd protests, which have seen Confederate monuments come down in cities and towns across the country, the decision was made to move the statue somewhere else.
It won’t be completely removed from campus, however. Rather, it will be taken from its place of prominence and moved to a Civil War ceremony in a remote corner of the school. There, it will stand among the graves — many of them unmarked — of Confederate soldiers who died in the Battle of Shiloh.
Even so, some critics are not fully on board with the plan to move the statue there. The plan includes a lighted walkway to the statue, as well as the possible addition of headstones.
Still, University of Mississippi Chancellor Glenn Boyce says that its new location hopefully won’t send the wrong message.
“It’s not going to create a shrine to the Confederacy. People will have to judge that when they see the end product,” Boyce said previously.
The plan to move the statue is expected to cost about $1.2 million and will be paid for by private donations, rather than by public funds.
Across Mississippi, the state is dealing with its legacy of honoring the Confederacy in different ways. For example, as previously documented by The Inquisitr, the state has retired its flag, which previously incorporated a Confederate symbol in its canton. It is now asking for the public’s input in designing a new flag. However, just across town from the university, in Oxford, a Confederate statue will remain where it is after the Lafayette County authorities voted to keep it there, as The Oxford Eagle reported.