The protests in Charlottesville has changed the national conversation on the symbolism of Confederate statues.
Late Sunday, University of Texas officials removed four statues memorializing the Confederacy. Statues of Robert E. Lee, Albert Sidney Johnston, John Reagan and James Stephen Hogg are in the process of being removed from the school’s Main Mall before students return on Wednesday, per The New York Daily News.
Early Monday morning, crews began work with the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue.
“Last week, the horrific displays of hatred at the University of Virginia and in Charlottesville shocked and saddened the nation. These events make it clear, now more than ever, that Confederate monuments have become symbols of modern white supremacy and neo-Nazism,” University of Texas president Greg Fenves said in the statement.
Violent unrest from Charlottesville dominated headlines. Subsequently, the death of 32-year-old Heather Heyer by white supremacist James Alex Fields Jr. became a central argument for taking down the Confederate monuments.
Blavity reported that the sole purpose various white nationalist groups came to the city was to protest the planned removal of a Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee statue.
“The historical and cultural significance of the Confederate statues on our campus — and the connections that individuals have with them — are severely compromised by what they symbolize,” Fenves added. “We do not choose our history, but we choose what we honor and celebrate on our campus."
This is just one of many cases where these Confederate statues have been taken down. Maryland state officials and the mayor of Baltimore have removed statues in the past few days.