Under cover of night the University of Texas removes Robert E. Lee The University of Texas at Austin is now a monument to intolerance of the Left.

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Aug 21, 2017 1 Comment ›› admin

By Lynn Woolley

No discussion. No serious thought. Just a news story followed by an email blast from UT Austin President Greg Fenves that he had several more statues removed.

The statues taken down include Robert E. Lee, Albert Sidney Johnston and John Reagan.

Late Sunday night, Aug. 20, 2017, UT-Austin announced it would take down three Confederate statues on campus. A statue of former Texas Gov. James Stephen Hogg (shown here) was also removed. Bob Daemmrich – Texas Tribune

A statue of former Gov. James Stephen Hogg may be relocated to another spot on campus. Erasing history and the wishes of earlier generations doesn’t seem like the mission of a great University – but Fenves says he carefully considered what he was doing.

Perhaps, but you wonder if Fenves has any idea of what was in the heart of Robert E. Lee.

The Dallas Morning News carried an amazing, full-page defense of Lee in its Sunday edition. Writer William Murchison ever went so far as to say that Lee could be the great healer – the historical figure that could unite America. Apparently not at UT.

It’s downright amazing that the Dallas Morning News allowed this column in their pages.

The News has tilted far left in the past few years – and it’s been on a crusade to push Robert E. Lee’s statue at Dallas’ Lee Park down the Memory Hole. Murchison, a moderate writer for the News, makes a passionate case that Lee was a good man, an honest man, and a man of his times, writing:

At War’s end, he wished nothing more and nothing less than to bind the terrible wounds cause by four years of bloody conflict. He knew what had gone wrong. He wished that things might be right again for a united American people.

That does not sound like the bloody racist that Lee is portrayed to be by the Left.

William Murchison

Murchison notes that Lee had opposed secession, but felt he owed it to his home state of Virginia to fight for it.

Lee had opposed slavery, and after having received, in trust from his late father-in-law’s estate, a gift of 196 slaves – he freed them, as called for in the will. Murchison writes:

Concerning the sin of slavery, we have Lee’s own words. “So far from engaging in a war to perpetuate slavery” he wrote in 1869 [after the War had ended], I am rejoiced that slavery is abolished. I believe it will be greatly for the interest of the South.”

But Robert E. Lee accrues no credit from the erasers of history that includes most of the Editorial Board members of the newspaper that carried this column. As Murchison writes:

The gift of applying contemporary moral insights to long-ago problems and vexations seems to be widely, painfully distributed in our time.

Indeed, and I would guess that if someone from 1865 could be magically transported, using Professor Emmett Brown’s DeLorean, to our time, he or she would be completely mystified by modern attitudes and political correctness. People of the 19th century were of their time just as we are of ours.

University of Texas at Austin President Gregory Fenves (Photo: Austin American Statesman)

Murchison, therefore, makes a strong case that this honorable American solider and teacher – Robert E. Lee might lead us out of the shadows and into reconciliation if we should give him the chance.

On the UT campus, President Fenves has already denied him. History has been erased.

Instead of erasing history – let’s add to it.

On the Bell County Courthouse square, there are two statues that may, someday, go down the Memory Hole. One honors Confederate Soldiers and the other is a likeness of the county’s namesake Peter Hansborough Bell. There is no statue of Abraham Lincoln. Might I suggest one? Or perhaps a statue of Harriet Tubman. Or a memorial to the Underground Railroad.

Instead of erasing history, I could see a statue of Lee and Grant at Appomattox, where Lee surrendered after deciding the cause was lost – and where Grant, respectful of Lee, allowed him to keep his sword and Traveller, his horse.

There are other fine choices for new statues and memorials, including (with a tip of the hat to Kevin D. Williamson of the National Review):

Frederick Douglass
Thaddeus Stevens
John Brown

But I would not tear down that which already exists. As Williamson notes, Rome is a Christian city, and yet the Colosseum, where Christians were slaughtered for sport, still stands as a major attraction.

The University of Texas at Austin is now a monument to intolerance of the Left.

UT President Greg Fenves is in a tough spot. He may be a liberal and he may not be. In any case, his liberal campus is in liberal Austin and his faculty includes the left-wing anti-capitalist Robert Jensen. His student body includes a lot of snowflakes.

Fenves probably did what he felt he had to do to keep his office from being stormed and taken over.

But it was not the right thing to do.

The right thing to do is to stand up to a mob, and balance out history by adding to it rather than destroying what came before.



Dear Longhorns,

Last week, the horrific [sic] 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.

A crew takes down Confederate statues on the UT-Austin campus just after midnight on Monday, Aug. 21, 2017.
Bob Daemmrich – Texas Tribune

After the Charleston, South Carolina, church shooting in June 2015, and with the urging of students, I formed a task force of faculty, students, alumni and university leaders to evaluate six statues on UT’s Main Mall that included depictions of four military and political leaders of the Confederacy. The task force presented five options, ranging from the installation of contextual materials to the removal of some or all of the statues. At that time, I decided to move the statues of Jefferson Davis and, for symmetry, U.S. President Woodrow Wilson. The Davis statue has since been restored and presented at UT’s Dolph Briscoe Center for American History in a scholarly exhibition about the Littlefield Fountain and the six Main Mall statues.

During the past several days, I have talked with student leaders, students, faculty members, staff members and alumni to listen to their views after the revelatory events in Charlottesville. I also revisited the very thorough 2015 task force report. After considering the original task force report and with the events of the past week and my discussions with the campus community in mind, I decided to relocate the remaining four statues.

Early this morning, the statues depicting Robert E. Lee, Albert Sidney Johnston, John Reagan and James Stephen Hogg were removed from the Main Mall. The Lee, Johnston and Reagan statues will be added to the collection of the Briscoe Center for scholarly study. The statue of James Hogg, governor of Texas (1891-1895), will be considered for re-installation at another campus site.

The University of Texas at Austin is a public educational and research institution, first and foremost. 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. Erected during the period of Jim Crow laws and segregation, the statues represent the subjugation of African Americans. That remains true today for white supremacists who use them to symbolize hatred and bigotry.

The University of Texas at Austin has a duty to preserve and study history. But our duty also compels us to acknowledge that those parts of our history that run counter to the university’s core values, the values of our state and the enduring values of our nation do not belong on pedestals in the heart of the Forty Acres.

We do not choose our history, but we choose what we honor and celebrate on our campus. As UT students return in the coming week, I look forward to welcoming them here for a new academic year with a recommitment to an open, positive and inclusive learning environment for all.

Hook ’em,
Gregory L. Fenves

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  1. CG59 says:

    Can’t help but wonder in the light of the paroxysm of racial (racist?) political correctness, and after seeing the actions of the yellow-bellied preezy of ut (non-caps intended); I wonder how long the name of Lee High School in Midland will survive? Or will it be ‘eclipsed’ as well?

    William Goble

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