A statue of the Confederate president Jefferson Davis, which had long stood in a prominent location on the grounds of the University of Texas in Austin, has been removed after critics argued that it represented and celebrated racism.
University president Greg Fenves said in a letter to students and staff that the statue would now be displayed as an exhibit at the university’s Briscoe Centre for American History, which contains one of the largest archives on slavery in the US.
“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,” Mr Fenves wrote.
A slave-owner and Mississippi senator, Davis led the Confederate states during the American Civil War. Flags and other symbols of the confederacy have been re-examined and largely removed following the recent mass shooting of black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina, whose killer was inspired in part by the region’s racially divided history.
Last week, a Texas judge ruled against the heritage organisation, Sons of Confederate Veterans, which had sued to keep Davis’s statue standing. The groups’ lawyer told the Dallas Morning News that its removal was “a cultural atrocity”.
Similar statues, including one of Confederate general Robert E Lee, remain on the campus.