Ties to Slavery Leads to Statue Removal

Tim Folliard – Sports Editor

Photo Credit: Dave Kettering, Telegraph Herald

DUBUQUE, IA – Loras College has removed a statue of its founder, Bishop Mathias Loras, after new research confirmed that he was a slave owner.

Bishop Loras owned a slave from 1836 to 1852. The slave, Marie Louise, was purchased in Mobile, Alabama. Bishop Loras left Marie Louise when he relocated to Iowa, but he hired her for outside use and used the proceeds to build ministries.

In an email sent to Loras College students and faculty, President Jim Collins states that “there is no evidence that Bishop Loras ever expressed remorse for his actions.”

The statue has been placed into storage while the university determines what the next action should be. This is a part of a nationwide movement that has seen many statues removed or be called for removal. Most of these statues are of Confederate Generals or monuments that honor the Confederacy during the Civil War.

Many Christopher Columbus statues have also been removed. The City of Chicago removed three Columbus statues in July. Others statues across the country have come down from protestors, including a Jefferson Davis statue in Richmond, Virginia.

It has not been determined whether or not Loras College will be permanently renamed. For now, it will remain Loras College. President Collins said “The College will retain its name while we focus our energy and resources on accelerating and expanding efforts to advance human dignity, diversity, equity and inclusion on campus, and especially among our leadership, administration and faculty. We know there is much work to do.”

A scholarship fund has been created for Marie Louise at Loras College. Another scholarship fund has been created for Norman Dukette. Dukette was the first Black graduate of Loras College in 1922 and became the fifth Black priest in the United States to be ordained.

Loras College is a Catholic University located three hours away in Dubuque, Iowa. It has an enrollment of about 1500 students and routinely plays Benedictine in athletic competitions. During the past two seasons Loras has competed against Benedictine in Football, Women’s Lacrosse, Men’s Volleyball, Men’s Soccer, Softball, Track & Field and Cross Country.