POLITICS
08/19/2017 09:34 am ET

Duke University Is Removing The Robert E. Lee Statue From Its Chapel

Students made clear they don't want the Confederate monument.
Duke University's president says this statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee will be “preserved&r
Jonathan Drake / Reuters
Duke University's president says this statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee will be “preserved” in some capacity “so that students can study Duke’s complex past and take part in a more inclusive future.”

Duke University authorized the removal of a Gen. Robert E. Lee statue from the front of its chapel Saturday after students made very clear they don’t want the Confederate monument there anymore.

Vincent Price, president of Duke University, said on the university website that he made the decision with “strong support of the Board of Trustees” after the monument was defaced on Wednesday.

“I took this course of action to protect Duke Chapel, to ensure the vital safety of students and community members who worship there, and above all to express the deep and abiding values of our university,” Price said in the post Saturday.

The Durham, North Carolina, university looks set to follow other institutions and relocate its monument. The memorial will be “preserved” in some capacity, Price said, “so that students can study Duke’s complex past and take part in a more inclusive future.”

Last Saturday, one person was killed and several others were injured during a “Unite the Right” rally around a Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Not that Confederate Gen. Lee himself would have wanted the statue up in the first place.) 

The violent event set off a nationwide firestorm that led to the toppling of a Confederate monument outside a Durham courthouse on Monday.

On Saturday, Boston prepares for its own so-called “alt-right” rally, as police brace for thousands of counterprotesters and, possibly, white supremacist figureheads who were seen in Charlottesville over the weekend. 

Ahead of the event, a holocaust memorial was vandalized in Boston on Monday night, the second vandalism to that monument this summer.

In the two years since white supremacist and Confederate flag admirer Dylann Roof massacred nine black parishioners at a South Carolina church, the movement to remove Confederate symbols from public property has gained momentum. 

So far more than 60 Confederate symbols have been removed from city- and state-owned land across the U.S., according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Recently, the city of New Orleans toppled four statues honoring the Confederacy.

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