TAMU History Depts statement on Lawerence Sullivan Ross

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Desert Professor
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Texas A&M University Department of History Faculty on the Institutional History of Lawrence Sullivan Ross
It has come to our attention that recent calls for removal of the Lawrence Sullivan Ross statue from Academic Plaza are being answered by the Chancellor's office with a document titled "Lawrence Sullivan Ross: Soldier, Statesman, Knightly Gentleman" that is outdated, incomplete, and unreliable. Elements of this partial history are likewise being uncritically repeated in various forums online and elsewhere. Let us be clear, the "real story of Sul Ross," as it was termed in one email, was not produced by the Department of History at Texas A&M University and does not meet the rigorous standards of our discipline (i.e., it is missing attribution, bibliographic citations, and an acknowledgement of varying interpretations, among other flaws).1 Our commitment to the scholarly standards of our profession, as well as to academic and personal integrity, compel us to offer the following statement by way of clarifying, contextualizing, and enriching our collective understanding of Ross as an historical figure.
As historians in the Department of History at Texas A&M University, we find the "real story of Sul Ross" to be unreliable in three important ways.
1. The narrative that is being circulated does not sufficiently explain Ross's role in the displacement, dispossession, and denigration of Indigenous people in Texas. Instead, it relies on: a partial account of his time as a Texas Ranger without the full history of the Ranger force as one that terrorized Indigenous peoples as well as Mexican and African Americans, facile characterizations of Native groups as "friendly" or "hostile," and little consideration of his role in the massacre at Pease Creek and the expulsion of most Native American Texans from their ancestral homelands to Indian Territory.2
2. The narrative makes no mention of Ross's role within and on behalf of the Confederate States of America nor does it even use the term Civil War, referring instead to a "call to duty" and concern for states' rights. What might that duty and those rights be? The leading Texas secessionist, John Marshall, spelled it out in the Austin State Gazette, April 20, 1861: "It is essential to the honor and safety of every poor white man to keep the [N]egro in his present state of subordination and discipline." While the consequences of the Civil War are still unfolding in the present, it is a matter of consensus among professional historians that preservation of an agrarian economy, culture, and society based on human bondage and white supremacy was the primary catalyst for Confederate secession, whether or not a given individual was a slave owner (as was Ross's father and from which he directly benefitted).3 In addition, Texan Confederates' proclivities for
1 We recommend consulting: the American Historical Association's "Statement on the Standards of Professional Conduct."
2 We recommend consulting: Gary Clayton Anderson, The Conquest of Texas: Ethnic Cleansing in the Promised Land, 1820-1875 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2005); Paul H. Carlson and Tom Crum,
William Carrigan and Bill Clive, Forgotten Dead: Mob Violence against Mexicans in the United States, 1848-1928 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013); David LaVere, The Texas Indians (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2004); Monica Muoz Martnez, The Injustice Never Leaves You: Anti-Mexican Violence in Texas (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2018).
and Massacre: The Pease River Capture of Cynthia Ann Parker (Lubbock: Texas Tech University Press, 2012);
3
Eighth Census of the United States 1860; National Archives Washington DC, USA; Series Number: M653; Record
Group: Records of the Bureau of the Census; RG29,
2.
1
Myth, Memory,

violence extended to other ethnic groups such as Germans and Tejanos and also to white dissenters from "the cause."4
3. The narrative pointedly disavows any participation in the Ku Klux Klan but does not explain that white supremacist violence characterized the state in the years after Reconstruction far beyond the functioning of any single organization. As a Texas Ranger in his early life and as the Texas governor who oversaw the Rangers later, Ross represented and carried out anti-Mexican, anti-Black, and anti-Indigenous beliefs and policies. These were not hidden attitudes, as one lyric of an official Rangers song attests: "all the Mexkins [sic] ought to be...in a narrow grave just six by three."5 Ross's direct involvement in the so-called Jaybird-Woodpecker War in 1888-89 resulted in the disfranchisement and violent expulsion of Black Americans from Fort Bend County and ensured whites-only primaries and elections for decades to come.6 In these and other actions, Ross was not alone. Anti-Black laws, poll taxes and voter intimidation, and violent attacks against people of color were the primary way that white southerners consolidated their power in the post-Reconstruction era. It is unequivocally true that Ross agreed with, supported, and defended these policies until his death, even as he carried out what might be considered isolated acts of charity towards some communities of color.7
There are many other important historical contexts and bodies of testimony that should be considered in any legitimate accounting of Lawrence Sullivan Ross's life and legacies. Historians have a responsibility to consult myriad sources from multiple perspectives and all those voices cannot always be reconciled. Instead, we must inhabit the uncertainties and contradictions of the human condition and be ever-mindful of how choices made in the past affect our lives in the present. The "real story of Sul Ross" does none of this.
4 We recommend consulting: Dale Baum, The Shattering of Texas Unionism: Politics in the Lone Star State during the Civil War Era (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1998); Walter Buenger, Secession and the Union in Texas (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1984);
5 David Montejano, Anglos and Mexicans in the Making of Texas, 1836-1986 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1987), 102.
6 Leslie Ann Lovett, "The Jaybird-Woodpecker War: Reconstruction and Redemption in Fort Bend County, Texas, 1869-1889," (M.A. Thesis, Rice University, 1994), 78-79; Pauline Yelderman, "Jaybird-Woodpecker War," Texas State Historical Association Online, https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/wfj01.
7 We recommend consulting: Randolph B. Campbell, Grass-Roots Reconstruction in Texas, 1865-1880 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1997); Eric Foner, Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877 (New York: HarperCollins, rev. ed. 2014); John Hope Franklin, Reconstruction after the Civil War (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 3rd. ed. 2012); John William Gorman, "The Crucible of Freedom: Reconstruction Violence in Texas, 1865-1868 (Ph.D. Dissertation, Texas A&M University, 2019); Jumpin' Jim Crow: Southern Politics from Civil War to Civil Rights, ed. Jane Dailey, Glenda Gilmore, and Bryant Simon (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000); Montejano, Anglos and Mexicans in the Making of Texas, 1836-1986.
Randolph B. Campbell, An Empire for Slavery: The Peculiar
Institution in Texas, 18211865 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1989); F.R. Lubbock,
Texas: Or, Memoirs of Francis Richard Lubbock, Governor of Texas in War Time, 1861-63. A Personal Experience in
Six Decades in
Business, War, and Politics (Austin, B. C. Jones & co., printers, 1900); Sul Ross, "Life & Adventures," [n.d.], Ross
Family Papers, Baylor University Library; Andrew J. Torget, Seeds of Empire: Cotton, Slavery, and the
Transformation of the Texas Borderlands, 1800-1850 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2015).
2

The discipline of history itself is rooted in vast inequities, in privileging some forms of knowledge over others. This has changed over time, largely as the result of work by determined individuals and communities whose very voices had been marginalized or ignored. As a profession, we still have far more work to do. But we are also laboring in a moment in which ill- informed opinions and comfortable fictions are trumpeted as examples of serious academic inquiry and against this trend, we protest.
We stand in opposition to the uncritical reverence of historical figures who represent racist, colonialist, and sexist attitudes and policies of the past. We advocate for the careful and unflinching study of our shared history. But we also advocate a compassionate and nuanced approach in the present. We value the Aggie traditions of respect for all members of our communityon campus and beyond, integrity in our work and our livesas teachers, researchers, and mentors, and excellence in our approach to dealing with even the most troubling and traumatic histories our work uncovers.
We study history. We teach history. But we do not worship it. And we do not know how we will be judged by it in the future. But we do know that students, colleagues, and community members feel hurt, frustrated, humiliated, and silenced by the continued pride of place accorded the Ross statue and legacy by the Texas A&M University system.
3

Armando C. Alonzo
Terry H. Anderson
Troy O. Bickham
Carlos Kevin Blanton Cynthia A. Bouton Albert S. Broussard Jonathan Brunstedt Jonathan C. Coopersmith Olga Dror
April Lee Hatfield
Sonia Hernndez
Felipe Hinojosa
Angela Pulley Hudson Violet M. Showers Johnson Walter D. Kamphoefner Kim, Hoi-eun
Brian McAllister Linn Lawrence "Trent" MacNamara Sarah McNamara
Robert P. Resch
Stephen Badalyan Riegg
Brian Rouleau
Rebecca Hartkopf Schloss Daniel L. Schwartz
Anthony N. Stranges
David Vaught
Katherine Unterman
[Updated 6/15]
4
Desert Professor
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Texas A&M University Department of History Faculty on the Institutional History of Lawrence Sullivan Ross
It has come to our attention that recent calls for removal of the Lawrence Sullivan Ross statue from Academic Plaza are being answered by the Chancellor's office with a document titled "Lawrence Sullivan Ross: Soldier, Statesman, Knightly Gentleman" that is outdated, incomplete, and unreliable. Elements of this partial history are likewise being uncritically repeated in various forums online and elsewhere. Let us be clear, the "real story of Sul Ross," as it was termed in one email, was not produced by the Department of History at Texas A&M University and does not meet the rigorous standards of our discipline (i.e., it is missing attribution, bibliographic citations, and an acknowledgement of varying interpretations, among other flaws).1 Our commitment to the scholarly standards of our profession, as well as to academic and personal integrity, compel us to offer the following statement by way of clarifying, contextualizing, and enriching our collective understanding of Ross as an historical figure.
As historians in the Department of History at Texas A&M University, we find the "real story of Sul Ross" to be unreliable in three important ways.
1. The narrative that is being circulated does not sufficiently explain Ross's role in the displacement, dispossession, and denigration of Indigenous people in Texas. Instead, it relies on: a partial account of his time as a Texas Ranger without the full history of the Ranger force as one that terrorized Indigenous peoples as well as Mexican and African Americans, facile characterizations of Native groups as "friendly" or "hostile," and little consideration of his role in the massacre at Pease Creek and the expulsion of most Native American Texans from their ancestral homelands to Indian Territory.2
2. The narrative makes no mention of Ross's role within and on behalf of the Confederate States of America nor does it even use the term Civil War, referring instead to a "call to duty" and concern for states' rights. What might that duty and those rights be? The leading Texas secessionist, John Marshall, spelled it out in the Austin State Gazette, April 20, 1861: "It is essential to the honor and safety of every poor white man to keep the [N]egro in his present state of subordination and discipline." While the consequences of the Civil War are still unfolding in the present, it is a matter of consensus among professional historians that preservation of an agrarian economy, culture, and society based on human bondage and white supremacy was the primary catalyst for Confederate secession, whether or not a given individual was a slave owner (as was Ross's father and from which he directly benefitted).3 In addition, Texan Confederates' proclivities for
1 We recommend consulting: the American Historical Association's "Statement on the Standards of Professional Conduct."
2 We recommend consulting: Gary Clayton Anderson, The Conquest of Texas: Ethnic Cleansing in the Promised Land, 1820-1875 (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 2005); Paul H. Carlson and Tom Crum,
William Carrigan and Bill Clive, Forgotten Dead: Mob Violence against Mexicans in the United States, 1848-1928 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2013); David LaVere, The Texas Indians (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2004); Monica Muoz Martnez, The Injustice Never Leaves You: Anti-Mexican Violence in Texas (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2018).
and Massacre: The Pease River Capture of Cynthia Ann Parker (Lubbock: Texas Tech University Press, 2012);
3
Eighth Census of the United States 1860; National Archives Washington DC, USA; Series Number: M653; Record
Group: Records of the Bureau of the Census; RG29,
2.
1
Myth, Memory,

violence extended to other ethnic groups such as Germans and Tejanos and also to white dissenters from "the cause."4
3. The narrative pointedly disavows any participation in the Ku Klux Klan but does not explain that white supremacist violence characterized the state in the years after Reconstruction far beyond the functioning of any single organization. As a Texas Ranger in his early life and as the Texas governor who oversaw the Rangers later, Ross represented and carried out anti-Mexican, anti-Black, and anti-Indigenous beliefs and policies. These were not hidden attitudes, as one lyric of an official Rangers song attests: "all the Mexkins [sic] ought to be...in a narrow grave just six by three."5 Ross's direct involvement in the so-called Jaybird-Woodpecker War in 1888-89 resulted in the disfranchisement and violent expulsion of Black Americans from Fort Bend County and ensured whites-only primaries and elections for decades to come.6 In these and other actions, Ross was not alone. Anti-Black laws, poll taxes and voter intimidation, and violent attacks against people of color were the primary way that white southerners consolidated their power in the post-Reconstruction era. It is unequivocally true that Ross agreed with, supported, and defended these policies until his death, even as he carried out what might be considered isolated acts of charity towards some communities of color.7
There are many other important historical contexts and bodies of testimony that should be considered in any legitimate accounting of Lawrence Sullivan Ross's life and legacies. Historians have a responsibility to consult myriad sources from multiple perspectives and all those voices cannot always be reconciled. Instead, we must inhabit the uncertainties and contradictions of the human condition and be ever-mindful of how choices made in the past affect our lives in the present. The "real story of Sul Ross" does none of this.
4 We recommend consulting: Dale Baum, The Shattering of Texas Unionism: Politics in the Lone Star State during the Civil War Era (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1998); Walter Buenger, Secession and the Union in Texas (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1984);
5 David Montejano, Anglos and Mexicans in the Making of Texas, 1836-1986 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1987), 102.
6 Leslie Ann Lovett, "The Jaybird-Woodpecker War: Reconstruction and Redemption in Fort Bend County, Texas, 1869-1889," (M.A. Thesis, Rice University, 1994), 78-79; Pauline Yelderman, "Jaybird-Woodpecker War," Texas State Historical Association Online, https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/wfj01.
7 We recommend consulting: Randolph B. Campbell, Grass-Roots Reconstruction in Texas, 1865-1880 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1997); Eric Foner, Reconstruction: America's Unfinished Revolution, 1863-1877 (New York: HarperCollins, rev. ed. 2014); John Hope Franklin, Reconstruction after the Civil War (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 3rd. ed. 2012); John William Gorman, "The Crucible of Freedom: Reconstruction Violence in Texas, 1865-1868 (Ph.D. Dissertation, Texas A&M University, 2019); Jumpin' Jim Crow: Southern Politics from Civil War to Civil Rights, ed. Jane Dailey, Glenda Gilmore, and Bryant Simon (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2000); Montejano, Anglos and Mexicans in the Making of Texas, 1836-1986.
Randolph B. Campbell, An Empire for Slavery: The Peculiar
Institution in Texas, 18211865 (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1989); F.R. Lubbock,
Texas: Or, Memoirs of Francis Richard Lubbock, Governor of Texas in War Time, 1861-63. A Personal Experience in
Six Decades in
Business, War, and Politics (Austin, B. C. Jones & co., printers, 1900); Sul Ross, "Life & Adventures," [n.d.], Ross
Family Papers, Baylor University Library; Andrew J. Torget, Seeds of Empire: Cotton, Slavery, and the
Transformation of the Texas Borderlands, 1800-1850 (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2015).
2

The discipline of history itself is rooted in vast inequities, in privileging some forms of knowledge over others. This has changed over time, largely as the result of work by determined individuals and communities whose very voices had been marginalized or ignored. As a profession, we still have far more work to do. But we are also laboring in a moment in which ill- informed opinions and comfortable fictions are trumpeted as examples of serious academic inquiry and against this trend, we protest.
We stand in opposition to the uncritical reverence of historical figures who represent racist, colonialist, and sexist attitudes and policies of the past. We advocate for the careful and unflinching study of our shared history. But we also advocate a compassionate and nuanced approach in the present. We value the Aggie traditions of respect for all members of our communityon campus and beyond, integrity in our work and our livesas teachers, researchers, and mentors, and excellence in our approach to dealing with even the most troubling and traumatic histories our work uncovers.
We study history. We teach history. But we do not worship it. And we do not know how we will be judged by it in the future. But we do know that students, colleagues, and community members feel hurt, frustrated, humiliated, and silenced by the continued pride of place accorded the Ross statue and legacy by the Texas A&M University system.
3

Armando C. Alonzo
Terry H. Anderson
Troy O. Bickham
Carlos Kevin Blanton Cynthia A. Bouton Albert S. Broussard Jonathan Brunstedt Jonathan C. Coopersmith Olga Dror
April Lee Hatfield
Sonia Hernndez
Felipe Hinojosa
Angela Pulley Hudson Violet M. Showers Johnson Walter D. Kamphoefner Kim, Hoi-eun
Brian McAllister Linn Lawrence "Trent" MacNamara Sarah McNamara
Robert P. Resch
Stephen Badalyan Riegg
Brian Rouleau
Rebecca Hartkopf Schloss Daniel L. Schwartz
Anthony N. Stranges
David Vaught
Katherine Unterman
[Updated 6/15]
4
Schrute Farms
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That is most likely the kill shot for the Ross statue to stay in place.
Ukraine Gas Expert
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TLDR: Are they saying he's racist? Seems like a statement to set it up in a manner that puts a major spotlight on his past (mond-esque) versus his later years..
APHIS AG
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Quote:

We study history. We teach history. But we do not worship it. And we do not know how we will be judged by it in the future. But we do know that students, colleagues, and community members feel hurt, frustrated, humiliated, and silenced by the continued pride of place accorded the Ross statue and legacy by the Texas A&M University system.

And right there hypocrisy rears its ugly head. Teach it. Observe it. Do not judge it.

These history professors are getting just as bad as "journalist" who instead of reporting the news, their opinions is the news.
TRM
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Is there a link to this? The formatting is horrible.
Fxbrad
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Politicized history
30wedge
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No doubt a bunch of ****head, limp-wristed liberals
barnyard1996
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So will they be releasing their research on all the great things Sully did?

Since we are all about integrity and all, it just seems fair.
C@LAg
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The Liberati
AggieDub14 is formerly wmartin2014
stetson
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1. No doubt citing books and papers written by leftists
2. They conflate war and fighting marauding indigenous peoples and others as injustices
3. No mention of Texas A&M or Prarieview A&M and how he saved those institutions

I give the Texas A&M department of history an F.
redcrayon
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Isn't this old news?
C@LAg
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30wedge said:

No doubt a bunch of ****head, limp-wristed liberals


And that was just all the protesters today
AggieDub14 is formerly wmartin2014
Ellis Wyatt
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The History Department should get with the English Department and learn about paragraphs.
Rapier108
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Anything Terry H. Anderson is involved with means as far left wing as it can be.

The History Department used to have a lot of good professors, but they've all retired or died.

I only recognize two on that list, Anderson and Broussard.

At least Broussard always came across as a nice guy; one you could have a discussion with even if you didn't agree. Anderson always came across as a jackass.

One history professor I had always said that the administration's goal for A&M was to turn it into "Berkeley on the Brazos" and that the facility was already as liberal as Berkeley's (this was in 2000).
"If you will not fight for right when you can easily win without blood shed; if you will not fight when your victory is sure and not too costly; you may come to the moment when you will have to fight with all the odds against you and only a precarious chance of survival. There may even be a worse case. You may have to fight when there is no hope of victory, because it is better to perish than to live as slaves." - Sir Winston Churchill
mazag08
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Hey profs -

Nobody cares what you think. That's why the only thing you could succeed at was burying your head in the past and attempting to change it to your own agenda.

Go out in the real world and attempt something that bring value to society. Until then, you are what you have always been.. propaganda that the majority of students play along with so that they can get your useless portion of their degree plan over with.

Sincerely, someone who understands history, economics, and Texas A&M
Gap
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That is just a letter from some professors and staff in the History Dept. It isn't a statement from the History Dept.

It is a common method of spreading propaganda to give it presumed credibility.
Jayhawk
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History departments in all major universities have been dominated by Marxists since the 1970's when the last of the old guard died off. These people don't know any more about history than the average man with some curiosity. They are instead trained on Marxist narratives, e.g. instead of studying ancient egypt they will study "the role of female Pharaohs in blurring gender boundaries in the Late Kingdom" etc etc.

These people are impostors.
Ags4DaWin
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their premise is that history is racist so everything is racist. they are using their premise to prove their ****ing conclusions.

in spite of the fact that we have first hand accounts from blacks that thought he was their greatest ally.

not another goddam dime.

this isn't scholarship or academy.

its a ****ing witch hunt.

nit another dime.
SunrayAg
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Wait... you mean liberal arts professors want to help the dead white male bashing Marxists push their agenda?

I'm shocked, shocked I tell you!
Ocean Of Funk
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TLDR

Eliminatus
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Historians are always the first to pick a side despite their vaunted roles in their own minds....

There might be a hint or two of which side they chose here...

To be clear, I LOVE history. I wish I could dedicate my life to it (and if I thought I could make a decent living I probably would have). But the politics of history, and I am talking workplace politics, can be some of the worst this world may have ever seen. Drove me away real quick and in a hurry.
88agg
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Link

http://facultysenate.tamu.edu/FacultySenate/media/Media/Miscellaneous/Updated-Sul-Ross-History-Statement.pdf
clw04
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Gap said:

That is just a letter from some professors and staff in the History Dept. It isn't a statement from the History Dept.

It is a common method of spreading propaganda to give it presumed credibility.
Well, that was better than their last statement. They at least provided some sources this time.
agrab86
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The best way to handle this is to abolish our history department and have students get their required 2 history classes at juco.
C@LAg
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Since history just repeats itself, can we just fire and disband the entire department and wait for it to come around again
AggieDub14 is formerly wmartin2014
L1rebel
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F/ck them
Pooh-ah95_ESL
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How will future generations judge or reflect on these statues? Oh yes, I forgot, they will not be able to our have to worry about it. This small minded generation tore them down...

Build your own statues to those deserving in this time, and reflect and learn oon the statues built for the people who got us here, with their halos and warts. This is a country built by men, as imperfect as they may be. Cancel culture is a disease pushed and funded by the enemies of this country, propagated and nurtured by our corrupt media and fed to our ignorant and naive population. Just and tolerant countries such as China and Russia must be amazed at these events.
redd38
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They criticize Sharp's pro-Sully letter, but then commit the same violations in their own letter. And the worst they can come up with against Sully is that he lived in Texas in the 1800s. They confirm that he didn't own slaves, wasn't in the KKK, but lived during a time of war and segregation. Nothing in that letter makes me think the statue should come down.
aggiehawg
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An honorable life, well-lived being judged through 2020 lens.

On my maternal grandfather's side, I can trace members who have fought from the Revolutionary War up through Afghanistan, every single war. One small age bracket fought on behalf of the Confederacy from Alabama. Many of my family were decorated soldiers, including one with whom many people here are familiar.

But by today's standard, as announced, every one is judged by one single point in time.
Burdizzo
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I guess Dale Baum retired. His pinko name isn't on that list.
Johnny Danger
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Those dumb&$$ professors have no clue what reality is outside their academic lounges and convoluted textbooks. They are going the way of our mainstream media, with the majority being pure marxist scum. Not another dime will be spent buying football tickets to support this University I once called my own. To hell with them.
Aggie_Boomin 21
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Wow.... regardless of your opinion on whether Sully should stay or go, this is an embarrassment to our history department and university. Riddled with opinions and incredibly partial sources.
AGS-R-TUFF
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They have put a lot of effort into only highlighting things that could be viewed as negatives. But it is quite clear they have made a calculated attempt to ignore and minimize the tremendous positive accomplishments of Ross's life...the same courageous and honorable achievements that actually led to the creation of a statue in his honor.

This is a not a new approach. It is called bias.

If this is their intention, then they should continue to write about every person honored with a statue in this country and magnify any past negatives and minimize all positives.

The reality is that all of our historical figures were flawed. So I guess we tear them all down, destroy our history and turn our country into a bunch of buildings, cars and social media websites.
zooguy96
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So we're going to apply today's "standards" (and I use that term loosely) to things that happened hundreds of years ago.

Yeah, makes sense.
I know a lot about a little, and a little about a lot.
BigRobSA
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Tell them ****sticks what....

I'll meet ALL of them at the base of the statue. If they can ALL kick my ass, the statue is theirs to do with how they please.

I have $10k on me coming out with very little bruising, at worst.
"The Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution was never designed to restrain the people. It was designed to restrain the government."
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