Dr. Walter L. Buenger discussed taking down confederate statues

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Dr. Walter L. Buenger discussed taking down confederate statues

Image courtesy of Dallas Morning News
UT-Austin removes confederate statues from campus during the night with police on guard.

Image courtesy of Dallas Morning News UT-Austin removes confederate statues from campus during the night with police on guard.

Image courtesy of Dallas Morning News UT-Austin removes confederate statues from campus during the night with police on guard.

Image courtesy of Dallas Morning News UT-Austin removes confederate statues from campus during the night with police on guard.

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On Tuesday, April 22, Texas A&M University Corpus Christi along with the Historical Forum hosted Dr. Walter L. Buenger who gave a presentation titled “Confederate Monuments and Memorials: Constructing Historical Memory and Myth.”

Buenger is a professor of Texas History at University of Texas in Austin, as well as a chief historian for the Texas State Historical Association.

During his talk, Buenger told the audience that many of the confederate statues in place throughout the United States were erected between 1890 and 1960 as a way to push white supremacy.

“These monuments did not spring from the Civil War,” said Buenger. “They sprang from a later period, and this later period was all about erasing slavery, erasing all memories of slavery, and erasing the cause of the Civil War, which most of the time is understood as slavery.”

Buenger told the audience that he can understand why some people want the monuments and memorials to remain in place.

“On the other side, we care about preserving because we don’t necessarily understand what the monuments were put up for and what the monuments stood for.”  

Buenger’s solution is to remove the statues and place them in museums, where they can be given historical context, as they have done at UT Austin.

When asked by an audience member if he suggests that we remove statues of George Washington as well, since he was a slave owner, Buenger replied, “So was Jefferson and others, but there is a point where it is too much, and I think Washington did enough good that it outweighs the bad.”  

The event was open to the public and took place at the HEB Theatre located in the Art Museum of South Texas, where the Historical Forum does plan on hosting more similar events in the future.