University of Texas at Austin president Gregory L. Fenves recently made the decision to expedite the relocation of four statues from UT’s Main Mall. Three of these statues are of historic figures with close ties to the Confederacy—Robert E. Lee, Albert Sidney Johnston and John Reagan. The fourth statue memorializes James Stephen Hogg, who was not a member of the Confederacy. In fact, he is the first native-born Texan governor and father of four extraordinary children—Will, Mike, Thomas and especially Miss Ima—whose advocacy led to the creation of the Hogg Foundation for Mental Health.
Born in 1851, James Stephen Hogg was only 14 when the Civil War ended. Rather, he was a leading figure in the progressive reform movement in Texas, was known for stirring public addresses that advocated for “the little man” against big business interests (railroads, banks, and insurance companies), and nurtured his children’s interest in philanthropy and helping others.
For those who are interested in the full story behind the relocation of the statues, I encourage you to read President Fenves’s statement in full. The inclusion of the James Hogg statue in the relocation was for aesthetic reasons only—the statues were all one exhibit, and leaving just one of them erect would have been unsightly. Indeed, the Hogg statue is the only one that will be re-erected on campus grounds, just as soon as a new home is found for it.
Due to the high public interest in this issue, I believe that it is all the more important that people have accurate information about the motives and hearts of others, past and present.
To learn more about Governor James Stephen Hogg as well as the entire Hogg family, visit our Hogg History website.