The University of Texas at Austin will move a statue of the Confederate president, Jefferson Davis, from its prominent position on the campus to a history center there, but will leave statues of other Confederate leaders in place, the Austin American-Statesman reported.
The university is one of many that have recently been grappling with the question of what to do about Confederate symbols on their grounds. Those debates intensified after a mass shooting in June that took place inside a black church in Charleston, S.C.
This week, a task force released recommendations about the future of several statues on the Austin campus that honor Confederate figures. Three of them were spray-painted with the words “Black Lives Matter” after the Charleston shootings.
The statue of Davis, a former U.S. senator from Mississippi who served as president of the Confederate States of America from 1861 to 1865, will be refurbished for display at the campus’s Dolph Briscoe Center for American History. Gregory L. Fenves, the university’s president, said statues of other Confederate leaders would remain in place. Some of those individuals had deep ties to Texas, Mr. Fenves said in a news release, and another, Robert E. Lee, had a complicated legacy that shouldn’t be reduced to his role in the Civil War.
“As a public university, it is vital that we preserve and understand our history and help our students and the public learn from it in meaningful ways,” Mr. Fenves said in the news release. “Jefferson Davis had few ties to Texas but played a unique role in the history of the American South that is best explained and understood through an educational exhibit. The Briscoe Center has the expertise to do that.”