Late Sunday night, heavy machinery rolled onto the University of Texas at Austin campus and removed four statues of men involved with the Confederacy from the school's central walkway.
"Confederate monuments have become symbols of modern white supremacy and neo-Nazism," wrote UT Austin President Gregory Fenves in a statement
released at 11 p.m. Sunday night. He said the decision came after watching the "horrific displays of hatred" play out on the University of Virginia campus and in Charlottesville Aug. 12.
The statues removed depict Robert E. Lee, Confederate General Albert Sidney Johnston, Confederate cabinet member John Reagan and former Texas Governor James Stephen Hogg. The first three statues will be placed in the campus' Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, and Hogg's statue will likely be reinstalled somewhere else on campus.
According to the Associated Press,
less than 30 people, both supporters and opponents of Fenves' decision, congregated Sunday night (and into Saturday morning) to watch the removal. One of those was Mike Lowe, a leader in San Antonio's movement to remove the Confederate monument in Travis Park.
"These monuments represent white supremacy, and black lives haven’t mattered in this county the same as a white man’s matters,” Lowe told the AP.
Fenves has already orchestrated the removal of a Jefferson Davis statue
from campus, shortly after the June 2015 shooting of black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina. Davis now rests in the Briscoe Center.
"Erected during the period of Jim Crow laws and segregation, the statues represent the subjugation of African Americans," Fenves wrote Sunday. "That remains true today for white supremacists who use them to symbolize hatred and bigotry."