University of Texas to Remove Statues of General Robert E. Lee and Other Confederate Figures

Matthew Wright, Daily Mail, August 21, 2017

University of Texas President Greg Fenves has ordered the removal of statues of General Robert E. Lee and other prominent Confederate figures from a main area of campus.

Fenves announced the move late Sunday night, saying such monuments have become ‘symbols of modern white supremacy and neo-Nazism.’

The university moved a statue of former Confederate President Jefferson Davis from its perch near the campus clock tower to a history museum in 2015.

Fenves now says statues of Lee, Confederate Gen. Albert Sidney Johnston and Confederate Postmaster General John H. Reagan also must be moved.

The debate over public memorials for Confederate figures roared into national conversation last week after one person was killed in a clash between white supremacists and counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Six Flags Entertainment on Saturday said it has removed a Confederate flag from a Texas based theme park, reversing an earlier decision amid growing calls across the nation to take down symbols representative of southern slavery.

‘At Six Flags Over Texas we strive every single day to make people happy and to create a fun, thrilling and safe family friendly experience for our guests,’ a park spokeswoman told The Washington Post via email.

‘We always choose to focus on celebrating the things that unite us versus those that divide us. As such, we have changed the flag displays in our park to feature American flags.’

The Confederate States of America flag had been displayed at the Dallas-area theme park near the toll entrance and in the ‘Star Mall’ parts of the park since it opened in 1961.

Protesters also gathered in New York’s Central Park on Saturday to demand the removal of a statue of a 19th century doctor who conducted experiments on African American women slaves.

A bronze likeness of Dr. James Marion Sims stands at the entrance of Central Park at Fifth Avenue and 103rd Street in Manhattan.

The statue, which was originally dedicated in 1894, stands to honor the man considered to be ‘the father of modern gynecology.’

According to the New York City Parks Department, Sims, who was born in South Carolina in 1813, owned slaves.

While he is credited with treating vesicovaginal fistula, a condition in women that was common after child birth, he is also known to have conducted a series of experiments on black women.

In some cases, Sims did not use anesthesia on his subjects.

‘Memorializing of imperialist slaveholders, murderers and torturers like J. Marion Sims is white supremacy,’ said Rossanna Mercedes, 27, a member of Black Youth Project 100.

Her remarks were reported by the New York Daily News.

‘We will no longer allow government institutions like the New York City Parks Department to passively allow symbols of oppression,’ she said.

‘At best, J. Marion Sims was a racist man who exploited the institution of racism for his own gain,’ another protester, Seshat Mack, 24, said.

‘At best, he was a man who recognized the humanity of black slaves to use them for medical research about the human body — but not enough to recognize and treat their pain during surgery.’

The city has refused demands to move the statue, which originally stood in Bryant Park before it was moved to its current location.

The location of the statue is significant, since it lies in East Harlem – a racially diverse community.

In Columbia, South Carolina, the mayor, Steve Benjamin, has vowed to remove a bust of Sims on the grounds of the South Carolina Statehouse.

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