What Happened When One University Moved a Confederate Statue to a Museum

Sep 11, 2018 by

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Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, U. of Texas at Austin

Three years ago, the U. of Texas at Austin took down a monument to Jefferson Davis and moved it to the campus’s Dolph Briscoe Center for American History. That offers one possible solution to the question now facing the U. of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The University of Texas at Austin is home to four vacant pedestals where statues of prominent Confederate leaders, including Jefferson Davis, once towered over the campus. Today the Davis statue is in a campus museum.Following a 2015 shooting spree in which a white gunman killed nine African-American worshipers in a church in Charleston, S.C., the university removed the bronze statue of Davis, the Confederacy’s president. But as the eight-and-a-half-foot-tall statue was taken down, the university had a tough decision to make: Where should the controversial figure go?

The same question now faces the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where protesters last month tore down a equally large statue of a Confederate soldier.

At Austin, a task force of students, faculty, staff, and alumni determined the statue’s fate, based in part on a survey of more than 3,100 community members, according to a 2015 report. Ultimately the statue was kept on the campus as a permanent exhibit at the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History.

“These statues … carry a deeply disturbing message that has no place on a modern campus,” said Ben Wright, associate director for communications at the Briscoe Center. “They are at the same time historically important artifacts that contain information about American history that would be lost if they were destroyed.”

Source: What Happened When One University Moved a Confederate Statue to a Museum – The Chronicle of Higher Education

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