Reposted from UTNews: AUSTIN, Texas — The statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis will be relocated from the Main Mall at The University of Texas at Austin to the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, where it will become part of a new educational exhibit, university President Gregory L. Fenves announced today.

“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,” said Fenves. “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.”

Statues of James Stephen Hogg, Albert Sidney Johnston, John H. Reagan and Robert E. Lee will remain on the Main Mall. Hogg, Johnston and Reagan all had deep ties to Texas, and Lee’s complicated legacy to Texas and the nation should not be reduced to his role in the Civil War, Fenves said.

A statue of President Woodrow Wilson that stands opposite the Davis statue will be relocated to an exterior location on campus that has not yet been determined in order to maintain symmetry in the Main Mall space.

Fenves made the decision to relocate the statue after reviewing options presented by a 12-member task force and receiving input from many Texans including UT alumni, students and faculty members. He announced the relocation in a letter to students, faculty members and staffers. 

The Davis statue will be moved from its current location and refurbished for indoor display. It will be installed at the Briscoe Center once a planned renovation there is complete.

“The Briscoe Center’s planned renovation includes dedicated exhibit space for the role of symbolism, statuary and public memory in American history,” said Don Carleton, executive director of the center. “The Davis statue will be incorporated into this exhibit, where it will play a prominent role in educating students and visitors.”

The Briscoe Center, which is part of UT Austin, is an internationally recognized history research center with one of the nation’s largest collections related to Southern history. It initiates and conducts scholarly research in its extensive archives, sponsors exhibitions and publications, oversees three museums and curates thousands of artifacts including statues of Stephen F. Austin, Sam Houston and Sam Rayburn.  

The university will also consider placing a plaque on the Main Mall to provide historical context for the remaining statues and for an inscription west of the Littlefield Fountain that pays tribute to the Confederacy and Southern patriotism.

All six statues and the fountain were part of a plan that was developed by former university regent and major early benefactor George W. Littlefield and executed by sculptor Pompeo Coppini — but never fully completed. Both men’s papers are housed at the Briscoe Center.

UT Austin has worked in recent decades to overcome its history as a segregated university and has become a national leader in issues related to diversity and inclusion. Adding the statue to the Briscoe Center’s collections will continue those efforts.

During the past five years, UT Austin has created the Department of African and African Diaspora Studies and the Department of Mexican American and Latina/o Studies. UT Austin is also currently defending its use of race and ethnicity as one factor in its admissions process in a case before the United States Supreme Court.

For more information, contact: University Communications, Office of the President, 512-471-3151.

For more information about the Briscoe Center, contact: Benjamin Wright, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, 512-592-0061.

Note to editors and news producers:

University Communications at The University of Texas at Austin is providing the following news release in the form of text within this message. The article is posted in the “Press Releases” section of the UT News website at http://news.utexas.edu/.

Task Force Report Available for Download

by Leslie Blair on August 10, 2015

The Task Force on Historical Representation of Statuary at UT Austin presented its final report to President Greg Fenves on August 10. The task force presented five options for consideration.

The report presents five options for Fenves’ consideration. Four of the options include relocating one or more of the statues and an inscription west of the Littlefield Fountain to the university’s Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, the Blanton Museum, the Texas Memorial Museum, the Harry Ransom Center, the Littlefield home, or an exhibit elsewhere on campus. The inscription pays tribute to the Confederacy and Southern patriotism, which swept the South during the early 1900s.

  • Option 1: Leave all statues in place and add explanatory plaques that would enhance the educational value of the statues and provide historical context.
  • Option 2: Relocate the statue of Jefferson Davis and the inscription near the Littlefield Fountain to an exhibit elsewhere on campus.
  • Option 3: Relocate the statues of Davis, Robert E. Lee, Albert Sidney Johnston and John Reagan and the inscription near the Littlefield Fountain to an exhibit elsewhere on campus.
  • Option 4: Relocate the statues of Davis, Lee, Johnston and Woodrow Wilson and the inscription near the Littlefield Fountain to an exhibit elsewhere on campus.
  • Option 5: Relocate six statues — Davis, Lee, Reagan, Johnston, Wilson and James Hogg — and the inscription near the Littlefield Fountain to an exhibit elsewhere on campus.

“The task force discussed many options for the statues on the Main Mall. We considered a number of options for statue relocation — some presented by task force members, others by members of the public,” said Gregory J. Vincent, the university’s vice president for diversity and community engagement and head of the task force. “In the end, the majority of task force members believed that if the statues were to be relocated, the Briscoe Center for American History offered the best solution for keeping the statuary on campus as the donor wished but placing them in a more educational setting.”

The task force held two public hearings on the UT Austin campus in July at which students, alumni, staffers, faculty members and members of the public offered their suggestions for the statues. In addition, more than 3,100 individuals completed an online questionnaire about the statues, with 33% in favor of removing the statue of Jefferson Davis; 27% in favor of removing multiple statues; 33% in favor of retaining the statues in their current locations; and 7% presenting other options or comments for the task force.

Task Force to Release Report on August 10

July 28, 2015

UPDATE: The Task Force for Historical Representation of Statuary at UT Austin has requested and received an extension from President Gregory L. Fenves in order to fully explore all options for the statues on the Main Mall. The Task Force will submit its final report to President Fenves and release it publicly on Aug. 10. […]

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Public Feedback Update Coming Soon

July 21, 2015

Thanks to all who took the time to send in their comments regarding the statuary on the Main Mall of campus via the online website, by phone and email. We are currently compiling the more than 3,200 comments and suggestions and will post a summary of the feedback we have received on Aug. 10.

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All Invited to Public Forums on Statuary Scheduled for July 7, 15

July 2, 2015

EVENT: Two public forums to gather comment on the historical representation of the statuary on the Main Mall at The University of Texas at Austin. WHEN: Tuesday, July 7, noon-2 p.m. Wednesday, July 15, 3-5 p.m. WHERE: July 7: Student Activity Center Auditorium on UT Austin campus July 15: San Jacinto Hall Multipurpose Room (Room […]

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Task Force on Historical Representation of Statuary at UT Austin

June 24, 2015

On June 24 President Gregory L. Fenves announced that a 12-member task force will examine the historical context and social, artistic, and political intent of statuary on the Main Mall at The University of Texas at Austin. He has asked the panel to make recommendations regarding placement of the statues on campus by August 1. […]

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