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The University of Texas at Austin quietly removed four campus statues honoring the Confederacy on Aug. 21, 2017.

Monuments of generals Robert E. Lee and Albert Sidney Johnston, as well as Confederate politician John Reagan and Texas' 20th governor, Stephen Hogg, were hauled off campus overnight, just 10 days before fall classes start, The New York Times reported.

Preserving history is important, university president Greg Fenves said in a statement, but the symbolism behind those statues "run counter to the university’s core values."


"We do not choose our history," Fenves said. "But we choose what we honor and celebrate on our campus."

The university's swift decision comes amid a growing movement to remove Confederate monuments from public spaces.

Last week in Tampa, Florida, donations poured in to move a Confederate monument from the city's downtown area. Organizers had 30 days to raise adequate funding to get the job done — they raised it in 24 hours.

The day before that, news broke that Baltimore removed all four of its Confederate monuments in a span of hours. The University of Texas followed in the city's footsteps, taking action in the dead of night.

[rebelmouse-image 19528495 dam="1" original_size="750x872" caption="Workers place statues of Robert E. Lee and Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson on trucks in Baltimore. Photo by Alec MacGillis/AFP/Getty Images." expand=1]Workers place statues of Robert E. Lee and Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson on trucks in Baltimore. Photo by Alec MacGillis/AFP/Getty Images.

The push to remove Confederate monuments follows the deadly protest by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, in reaction to the city's decision to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee. A believed far-right terrorist allegedly murdered counter-protester Heather Heyer with his car, injuring at least 19 others in the attack. Those events pushed the University of Texas to act.

In his statement, Fenves touched on a vital point about many Confederate monuments that often gets glossed over in the debate surrounding their relevance in today's society: Those statues aren't so much about honoring history as they are about upholding racism.

“Erected during the period of Jim Crow laws and segregation, the statues [at UT-Austin] represent the subjugation of African Americans," Fenves explained. "That remains true today for white supremacists who use them to symbolize hatred and bigotry.”

Most Confederate statues, like the ones in Austin, were constructed with less than admirable intentions several decades after the Civil War.

The Civil War ended in 1865, yet the bulk of Confederate monuments were erected between 1890 and 1940, according to a the Southern Poverty Law Center. Another surge in statue construction occurred during the civil rights era of the 1960s.

A worker measures the Jefferson Davis monument in New Orleans ahead of its removal in May 2017. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images.

Most of the new monuments coincided with "the height of Jim Crow, of state-sanctioned segregation, disfranchisement, and lynching," Purdue University history professor Caroline Janney explained to Business Insider. Their construction wasn't so much to preserve history as it was to assert white supremacy in prominent public spaces.

"The fact that they were placed on the grounds of county and state courthouses was intentional," Karen L. Cox, a professor of history at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, told the Tampa Bay Times. "The message: white men are in charge."

To be clear, there absolutely should be a place for learning about the Civil War and Confederate leaders.

But it should probably be in classrooms and libraries — not via monuments that idolize the men who fought to uphold slavery.

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Noe Hernandez and Maria Carrillo, the owners of Noel Barber Shop in Anaheim, California.

Jordyn Poulter was the youngest member of the U.S. women’s volleyball team, which took home the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year. She was named the best setter at the Tokyo games and has been a member of the team since 2018.

Unfortunately, according to a report from ABC 7 News, her gold medal was stolen from her car in a parking garage in Anaheim, California, on May 25.

It was taken along with her passport, which she kept in her glove compartment. While storing a gold medal in your car probably isn’t the best idea, she did it to keep it by her side while fulfilling the hectic schedule of an Olympian.

"We live this crazy life of living so many different places. So many of us play overseas, then go home, then come out here and train,” Poulter said, according to ABC 7. "So I keep the medal on me (to show) friends and family I haven't seen in a while, or just people in the community who want to see the medal. Everyone feels connected to it when they meet an Olympian, and it's such a cool thing to share with people."

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Hold on, Frankie! Mama's coming!

How do you explain motherhood in a nutshell? Thanks to Cait Oakley, who stopped a preying bald eagle from capturing her pet goose as she breastfed her daughter, we have it summed up in one gloriously hilarious TikTok.

The now viral video shows the family’s pet goose, Frankie, frantically squawking as it gets dragged off the porch by a bald eagle—likely another mom taking care of her own kiddos.

Wearing nothing but her husband’s boxers while holding on to her newborn, Willow, Oakley dashes out of the house and successfully comes to Frankie's rescue while yelling “hey, hey hey!”

The video’s caption revealed that the Oakleys had already lost three chickens due to hungry birds of prey, so nothing was going to stop “Mama bear” from protecting “sweet Frankie.” Not even a breastfeeding session.

Oakley told TODAY Parents, “It was just a split second reaction ...There was nowhere to put Willow down at that point.” Sometimes being a mom means feeding your child and saving your pet all at the same time.

As for how she feels about running around topless in her underwear on camera, Oakley declared, “I could have been naked and I’m like, ‘whatever, I’m feeding my baby.’”

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