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Aug 16 2017
by Melissa Cordell

These Colleges Still Have Confederate Symbolism On Campus — And It's 2017

By Melissa Cordell - Aug 16 2017
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After the events in Charlottesville, Virginia it has become more clear that it is important to pay attention to the offensive Confederate memorials and statues on and around college campuses in America. We have compiled a list with the help of the Southern Poverty Law Center guide book to Confederate symbols in America to help you identify and advocate for the removal of these monuments. 

Alabama

Alabama law makes the removal of Confederate monuments illegal. The state combines Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and Robert E. Lee’s birthday into one holiday, which Jefferson State University and Southern Union State Community College recognize on their academic calendars. Schools in Alabama also use the Patriots mascot which relates to the Confederacy. At Auburn University next to Samford Hall, a lathe sits on display that was used by the Confederates. Near Alabama State University in Tuskegee is the Tuskegee Confederate Monument that rests where Civil Rights activists marched in the 1960’s. In Birmingham near the University of Alabama is a Confederate monument at Linn Park that is currently being considered for removal. 

The University of Alabama has a stained glass window in a library remembering the Confederate dead. The campus also has a granite marker on the quad honoring those who fought on the Confederate side and marking where the campus caught on fire during the war. Morgan Hall at the University of Alabama is named after a Confederate general, former senator and leader of the KKK. Last year, people demanded the hall be renamed after Harper Lee, with no success. One of the colleges in the Alabama Community College System is Jefferson Davis Community College, whose namesake is the first and only President of the Confederacy. 

Arizona

Confederate statues aren’t found on any campuses in Arizona, but they do have several in Phoenix with Grand Canyon University and Phoenix College nearby. One of the earliest monuments was built in 2010, which has people questioning if the monuments are really to honor the Confederate fallen. 

Arkansas

Less than two miles from the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, an HBCU, is the Pine Bluff Confederate Monument which honors the soldiers who fought under the Confederate flag during the Civil War. 

In the corner of the parking lot at the University of Arkansas School of Law in Little Rock is a memorial marking the spot where David O. Dodd, referred to as the “boy martyr of the Confederacy,” was hanged for espionage.

Florida 

Florida’s legacy as the “supplier of the Confederacy” is evidenced by the numerous monuments constructed in honor of the soldiers who fought on its behalf. On August 14, a Confederate statute in Gainesville was removed in the wake of the events in Charlottesville. Confederate Park in Jacksonville is located near numerous universities and features a large monument dedicated to the women of the Confederacy. 

The University of Florida controls the western portion of St. Augustine’s Plaza de la Constitución, which houses a Confederate monument. Students at UF’s rival school, Florida State, voted not to remove a statue of Francis Eppes by a margin of 71.7 to 28.3 percent. Eppes was a slave owner who sold his plantation to support the Confederate cause and a founder of FSU. 

Georgia

Given that Georgia is in the south, we can expect a few Confederate monuments in this state. At the University of Georgia, Candler Hall is named after Confederate Army Colonel Allen Chandler and Brown Hall is named after former governor and Confederate who led Georgia into secession, Joseph E. Brown

A Confederate monument is located in Athens, close enough to the University of Georgia that students have to walk by it quite frequently. Augusta University houses the Augusta Arsenal and the Confederate Powder Works, which they proudly own up to on their school website

Kentucky

Some of the most pivotal battles in the Civil War took place in Kentucky, so it is no surprise that the state has numerous monuments commemorating those battles and the soldiers who fought in them. Louisville mayor Greg Fischer recently relocated a statue of a Confederate soldier from the University of Louisville campus to Brandenburg after getting the move approved by a circuit court judge. 

On August 13, Lexington Mayor Jim Gray announced that the city would remove all Confederate statues.

Louisiana

A 2015 vote by the New Orleans City Council marked the beginning of the end for Confederate statues within the city’s borders as the Council voted to remove the relics of a painful past. 

One of the statues toppled by the decision was the Robert E. Lee statue in Lee Circle, located just 3.2 miles from Tulane and 6.6 miles from the University of New Orleans. Although the statue is no longer standing, students at Tulane are reminded of their school’s heritage on a daily basis. Gibson Hall, named after Confederate General Randall Lee Gibson, now houses most of the university’s senior administrators as well as the Office of Undergraduate Admissions. Additionally, Charles T. Howard’s Confederate memorabilia is displayed in a building that houses the Center for Academic Equity, which helps students of color at Tulane. Students at Louisiana State University may live in Kirby Smith Hall, named for Confederate soldier Edmund Kirby Smith while students at Nicholls State University may find themselves taking classes in P.G.T. Beauregard Hall.

Maine

As Maine is one of our most northern states, it seems to be the last place one would expect to find links to the Confederacy. Yet it wasn’t until 2015 that Bowdoin College “ended an academic award named and financed by a Confederate-pride group.”

Maryland

Perhaps surprisingly, Maryland remained member of the Union during the Civil War despite its status as a slave-holding state. Although never a formal member of the Confederacy, Maryland had many Confederate sympathizers, something which explains the number of Confederate monuments scattered throughout the state. In Baltimore, a memorial to Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson is located near Johns Hopkins University’s main campus. Across from John Hopkins’ Homewood campus is Bishop’s Park, which is home to the Confederate Women’s Monument. As of August 16, Baltimore has removed four Confederate monuments.

Mississippi

Although the incorporation of Confederate symbols in state flags is not uncommon, Mississippi’s state flag goes a step further by including a carbon copy of the Confederate flag itself. Universities have recognized that the state flag represents a history of hatred and bigotry that they believe is not in accordance with their mission as institutions of higher learning.

Mississippi State University, Mississippi University for Women, the University of Mississippi, Delta State University and the University of Southern Mississippi have all ceased flying the state flag on campus. The University of Mississippi has also added a plaque to a Confederate monument at the entrance to Lyceum Circle to add context and assert the university’s commitment to diversity. Although generally well-received, the action caught the attention of the Sons of Confederate Veterans who subsequently sued the university in 2016 demanding the plaque be removed. Pearl River Community College in Hattiesburg is also home to Jefferson Davis Hall.

Montana

Unlike other municipal governments across the country, Helena’s city commission is resisting pressure to remove a fountain in Hill Park honoring Confederate soldiers. The memorial is located just 1.3 miles west of the Helena College campus.

North Carolina

North Carolina has two major confederate statues near a college campus and one on university grounds, both of which are illegal to remove after the state passed a law in 2015 saying remembrance monuments cannot be removed or replaced. Silent Sam is on UNC-Chapel Hill’s campus and is no stranger to controversy in the news. In 2015, the statue was defended by white supremacists and the school when students lashed out about what it actually stood for. After the events at UVA with the Robert E. Lee statue and protesters in Durham, NC toppling over a Confederate statue on August 14, Silent Sam is seemingly being watched over

In Raleigh, there is a North Carolina State Confederate Monument close to North Carolina State University, and UNC-Wilmington is near another Confederate statue, dubbed the Boney Memorial. Duke University has a Robert E. Lee statue that an alumnus wants taken down now. Although technically owned by the town of Louisburg, Louisburg College has a Confederate monument located in the center of campus. Governor Roy Cooper recently called for all Confederate Statues to be removed. 

Oklahoma

Durant, Oklahoma has a confederate soldier statue and is close by to Southeastern Oklahoma State University. The statue underwent repairs in 2015, and exists because of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. 

Pennsylvania

Because Pennsylvania is home to the Battle of Gettysburg, quite a few monuments exist honoring the Confederate dead. No statues reside on a college campus, and the existing monuments in Gettysburg Park, near Gettysburg College, are not moving anytime soon according to the U.S. National Parks Service

Kutztown University banned Confederate flags and Nazi flags on campus and student dorms, but was made to lift the ban after it was found unconstitutional

South Carolina

South Carolina stands by its Confederate monuments and refuses to take them down, even after the mass murder of a predominately black church by a racist in Charleston. Near the College of Charleston is Confederate Defenders of Charleston, a statue put up by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, an organization made up of mostly white women. 

Tennessee

Tennessee’s Vanderbilt University has taken action in 2016 to rename a building on campus from “Confederate Memorial Hall” to “Memorial Hall,” and they even sent back the original donation to the school from a person who demanded it be named in honor of the confederate dead. Middle Tennessee State University still has their Confederate named building despite protests in 2015. University of Nashville, Vanderbilt University and Belmont College are all close to the most prominent Confederate monument, a bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest, which has recently come under fire after the events in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The University of Tennessee’s Health Sciences Park, formerly known as Nathan Bedford Forrest Park, is home to Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest’s burial memorial. The Memphis City Council voted to have the statue moved in fall 2016, but the historical commission vetoed the action. After the City Council vote, the head of a KKK faction offered to foot the bill for the relocation of the memorial to Robb’s Christian Revival Center in Arkansas.  

Texas

While Texas doesn’t have any Confederate monuments on college campuses, they do have a few that stand close by to three prominent universities: University of Dallas, University of Texas at Austin and University of Houston. Previous rulings in Texas have allowed the statues to stand, and while there has been talk of how controversial the one in Austin is, especially with the university nearby, there has been no publicized productive talk on the removal of it by Texas government. As of August 21, the University of Texas at Austin has removed four Confederate statues on their campus. 

In Sam Houston Park near the University of Houston, there is a confederate monument called Spirit of the Confederacy

Utah

Up until 2015, Dixie State University, named after “Dixie,” a term used to describe the South, had a statue of Confederate soldier boys on their campus even though Utah did not achieve statehood until 1896, after the Civil War ended. Titled “The Rebels,” the statue was returned to the artist in exchange for another piece.

Virginia

According to the report by the Southern Poverty Law center, as of 2016 there are 223 Confederate symbols in Virginia. The Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville has had the most publicity in the last few days after Nazis gathered in said attempts to protect the statue but rather spread their message of white supremacy. This statue resides on the University of Virginia’s campus, with students out on the ground protesting against the white supremacists last weekend. 

West Virginia

Near the University of Charleston rests a statue of Confederate General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson. 

In light of the events in Charlottesville, there have been calls to remove it, but as of now its future is undetermined. 

It's important for college students to be aware of the Confederate symbols that exist on their college campuses so they can work to bring them down. 

Katie Smith contributed reporting and writing to this article. 

Lead Image Credit: Melissa Cordell

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Melissa Cordell - University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Melissa Cordell is a junior at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, majoring in Political Science and Peace, War & Defense, with a Women's Studies minor. She loves working on campaigns, activism and writing. Follow her on Instagram @meldelissacor and Twitter @MM_Cordell!

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