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UM removes Confederate statue but is slammed for 'shrine'

The University of Mississippi has removed a controversial Confederate statue from its grounds, but has drawn fresh criticism for plans to ‘create a shrine’ to it in its new home in a nearby cemetery.

The marble statue of a saluting Confederate soldier was taken down from its place at the heart of the Oxford campus Tuesday, over a year since students and staff voted to remove it. 

It marks the latest in a string of racist and Confederate symbols being taken down from public places, as calls mount for an end to systemic racism across America in the wake of the ‘murder’ of George Floyd.

Last month, Mississippi lawmakers made history when they finally bowed to public pressure and voted to remove the Confederate battle emblem from the state flag.

But the university’s mark of progress has been mired in controversy as relocation plans suggest a shrine consisting of a stone bench, a new path, steps and new headstones will be made around the figure. 

Work crews are pictured removing the statue. The University of Mississippi has removed a controversial Confederate statue from its grounds, but has drawn fresh criticism for plans to 'create a shrine' to it in its new home in a nearby cemetery

Work crews are pictured removing the statue. The University of Mississippi has removed a controversial Confederate statue from its grounds, but has drawn fresh criticism for plans to ‘create a shrine’ to it in its new home in a nearby cemetery

Work crews were spotted being lifted in a crane to the top of the statue Tuesday, using tools to remove the figure from its base. 

The 30-foot statue was then lowered to the ground on harnesses.

The university, known as Ole Miss, plans to rehome the controversial figure in the Confederate Soldiers Cemetery which is based in a secluded area of the campus and is where Confederate soldiers killed at the Battle of Shiloh are buried. 

These plans have drawn fresh anger from students and faculty who have long pushed for its removal.

A draft plan details that the university plans to spend $1.15 million on relocating the monument and revamping the burial ground where it will be moved to.

The designs include the addition of a lighted brick pathway to the statue, a stone bench in front of it and a number of new headstones being added to the unmarked Confederate soldiers’ graves in the space.

The move has sparked outrage from faculty members who blasted that, rather than taking a stand, the university is building a shrine to the Confederacy.  

The marble statue of a saluting Confederate soldier (pictured) was taken down from its place at the heart of the Oxford campus Tuesday, over a year since students and staff voted to remove it

The marble statue of a saluting Confederate soldier (pictured) was taken down from its place at the heart of the Oxford campus Tuesday, over a year since students and staff voted to remove it

‘Moving the monument should be a clear stand against racism, not another embarrassing attempt to placate those who wish to maintain the university´s connection to Confederate symbols,’ faculty members from the university’s history department wrote in a joint statement condemning the move last month. 

‘The thing is, it was so blatant of a lie,’ Joshua Mannery, the president of the student government, told NBC News of the decision to give the statue a new pride of place. 

‘Our language was crystal clear. Nobody said anything about doing that.’

University Chancellor Glenn Boyce insisted the new site is not intended to glorify the soldiers and that parts of the plans were misleading.

‘It’s not going to create a shrine to the Confederacy,’ Boyce told The Associated Press last month at the state Capitol. 

‘People will have to judge that when they see the end product.’

Barricades are put up around the statue back on June 1 ahead of the state College Board finally approving a plan to move the monument on June 18

Barricades are put up around the statue back on June 1 ahead of the state College Board finally approving a plan to move the monument on June 18

Work crews were spotted being lifted in a crane to the top of the statue Tuesday, using tools to remove the figure from its base

Work crews were spotted being lifted in a crane to the top of the statue Tuesday, using tools to remove the figure from its base

The 30-foot statue was then lowered to the ground on harnesses. It marks the latest in a string of racist and Confederate symbols being taken down from public places, as calls mount for an end to systemic racism across America in the wake of the 'murder' of George Floyd

The 30-foot statue was then lowered to the ground on harnesses. It marks the latest in a string of racist and Confederate symbols being taken down from public places, as calls mount for an end to systemic racism across America in the wake of the ‘murder’ of George Floyd

The state College Board on June 18 finally approved a plan to move the monument. 

This came after the University of Mississippi student government voted 47-0 in favor of removing the statue last March – marking a victory for many after racial tensions grew on campus. 

In February 2019, pro-Confederate protesters held a rally at the school, and Ole Miss basketball players responded by taking a knee in protest during the national anthem at a game later that day.  

The Confederate soldier statue has towered down on the University of Mississippi campus for more than a century, after it was first donated by the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1906 in the height of the Jim Crow era. 

It was used as a gathering point in 1962 when the school’s court-ordered integration sparked riots and two murders. 

Critics say its location near the university’s main administrative building has continued to send a signal that Ole Miss glorifies the Confederacy and glosses over the South’s history of slavery. 

The university, known as Ole Miss, plans to rehome the controversial figure in the Confederate Soldiers Cemetery (pictured) which is based in a secluded area of the campus and is where Confederate soldiers killed at the Battle of Shiloh are buried

The university, known as Ole Miss, plans to rehome the controversial figure in the Confederate Soldiers Cemetery (pictured) which is based in a secluded area of the campus and is where Confederate soldiers killed at the Battle of Shiloh are buried

The university has come under fire as relocation plans suggest a 'shrine' consisting of a stone bench, a new path, steps and new headstones will be made around the figure in its new home

The university has come under fire as relocation plans suggest a ‘shrine’ consisting of a stone bench, a new path, steps and new headstones will be made around the figure in its new home

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