Confederate Emblems Removed from Display at William and Mary
By Azure Hall

Emblems imageWilliam and Mary has seen a bit of backlash since deciding to move or remove Confederate items from open display on campus. The Confederate flag has been removed from the college mace and a plaque in honor of students who fought for the Confederacy has been moved from the wall in the Wren Building to the college’s historical artifact collection in the Swem Library.

In an email to students, college President Taylor Reveley stated, "We want to be a place that is welcoming to everyone who is part of our university’s life. We are also an institution deeply rooted in history and committed to understanding our part in it.” The college believes that by moving the plaque to the historical collections, it is still a part of the campus. It can be viewed by anyone interested in seeing it, but cannot cause discomfort in those who may find it offending.

This is not the first time that the mace has been changed. The college seal was replaced in 1983 and the names of each new William and Mary chancellor and president are engraved upon it. The mace itself is considered a "living artifact.” It was created to be "owned in common by all former, present, and future students” and to "prove of incomparable value in bringing home to countless generations the full conception of the part the College of William & Mary has played in the life of the nation.” The Confederate flag and battle seal are to be replaced with new emblems that have yet to be announced. However, when the mace is brought out for special ceremonies, the original emblems will be replaced during ceremonial use.

The plaque is adorned with the Confederate flag and lists the names of William and Mary students and faculty that left to fight on the side of the Confederacy during the Civil War. It will be moved to special collections in the library and replaced with a plaque that gives a full account of those from the college who fought on both sides of the Civil War.

The college does not see itself as "re-writing history,” rather showing a fuller picture of its part in it. Reveley also stated, "We do not seek to put William & Mary’s part in the Civil War out of sight or mind. The College barely survived the physical, financial and human carnage of that conflict. Nor do we seek to avoid examining and learning from William & Mary’s role in slavery, secession and segregation.” As a college deeply rooted in Virginia and U.S. history, William and Mary strives to uphold the integrity of both the college and its students. Stay tuned to see what new emblem will replace the Confederate flag on the mace.


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