Committee To Consider Removing Fulbright Statue At University Of Arkansas

Jul 10, 2020

A statue of former Sen. J. William Fulbright that a committee will consider whether to remove because of his position on civil rights.
Credit Clinton Steeds / Flickr

A committee will consider whether to remove a statue of former Senator J. William Fulbright from its current location at the Fayetteville campus of the University of Arkansas. The group will eventually make a recommendation, but a decision about the statue and whether to rename the Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences, will ultimately be made by the UA System Board of Trustees. 

Nearly 6,000 people have signed a petition calling for the removal of his statue because of his position on civil rights.

Among those pushing for the change is Lee Powell, director of the Delta Grassroots Caucus and who is author of a biography on Fulbright. He spoke with KUAR in an interview aired Friday. You can hear the interview above.

Powell is suggesting the statue be moved to a less prominent location, like inside at the International Studies department with a prominently displayed marker summarizing Fulbright's "great accomplishments in foreign policy along with the weak civil rights record."

The location and how the Fulbright statue is presented is key, Powell says.

"Placing it at the center of campus – and without any historical marker for the context – makes people who find it disrespectful have to walk by it all the time. Placed at a more restricted place in-doors, people who choose to see it are choosing to do so. And the marker makes clear that the existence of the statue does not mean the university tolerates his civil rights record," Powell said.

KUAR is licensed to the University of Arkansas System.