Texas Matters: When Confederate Statues Come Down, What Happens To History?

Sep 8, 2017

Confederate monuments are continuing to be dismantled in Texas. Last week, San Antonio removed a statue dedicated to fallen Confederate soldiers. 

Under the cover of night, the commemorative statue was evicted from Travis Park in downtown San Antonio. Also this week, the Dallas City Council voted to relocate a statue of confederate General Robert E. Lee. And in August, the University of Texas suddenly took down four statues from a prominent mall on campus. The figures of General Robert E. Lee, Governor Jim Hogg, Senator John H. Reagan and General Albert Sidney Johnston were all vanquished.

University president Greg Fenves announced in an e-mail to the campus community that they were removed because they depict parts of American history that "run counter to the university's core values." 

Some of these names on the UT statues might not ring bells with many Texans. But at one time, they were celebrated heroes.

So who were these notable men? What did they do that was so heroic to some that caused their likeness to be placed on a pedestal on the UT campus?

Rich Heyman is a professor of geography in the Urban Studies Program at the University of Texas at Austin.