The university has responded to the vandal attack on the Sol Ross statue by announcing that it will erect a compensatory statue of Matthew Gaines, a Black State Senator of the Reconstruction era. The President tells us that Gaines played “an important part” in passing the legislation that established this university in 1871, but this is a politic exaggeration. The enabling legislation was, to be sure, part of the Radical Republican program of Governor Edmund Davis, and Gains very likely voted for it as a loyal member of Davis’s Radical Republican machine, but his service to the university was really very small.
This does not mean that the university should not put up a statue, since Gaines was an interesting character, and looking at his likeness will give all of us something to think about.
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