Davis Statue Will Be Moved to Briscoe Center


After a century of debate, the final word is in: The statue of Confederate president Jefferson Davis will be moved from UT’s Main Mall to an exhibit at the Briscoe Center for American History.

“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,” said UT president Greg Fenves in a letter to the UT community Thursday morning. “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.”

The other Confederate statues—of James Stephen Hogg, Albert Sidney Johnston, John H. Reagan, and Robert E. Lee—will stay put. Fenves cited the “deep ties” these men had to Texas history as a reason for leaving the statuary in place, as well as his desire for balance: “This combination of locating the Jefferson Davis statue in a center devoted to history and keeping the remaining statues along the Main Mall is both respectful of the heritage that is important to many and serves as a poignant display of our nation’s and university’s history.”

The statue of President Woodrow Wilson, which currently stands opposite the Davis statue, will also be moved to a yet-to-be-determined exterior location in order to preserve the symmetry of the Main Mall. Fenves also said that he will consider adding an explanatory plaque near the Littlefield Fountain.

The announcement came three days after the task force Fenves commissioned to look into the statues’ future released a report with five recommendations. Before releasing its report, the task force held two public forums where community members and UT students, faculty, and staff voiced their opinions on the subject. More than 3,100 people submitted comments and letters.

UT employee John Fisher removes graffiti from the Jefferson Davis statue after it was vandalized in April.

Photo by Andy Nguyen for the Daily Texan


Tags: , , ,