COLLEGE STATION, Texas - When Texas A&M announced it had cancelled a White Lives Matter rally on campus, White Nationalist groups vowed to march through campus instead.
Student leaders knew there was still work to do.
"We were going to take this momentum and not let it go away, just because their rally was cancelled," said Adam Key. Key is one of the organizers of the #BTHOHate peace really. He and other students started raising money that would go towards a statue of Matthew Gaines on campus.
"Without him, there wouldn't be a university to erect a statue in the first place," said Key.
Gaines was Lori Bartley's great-great-grandfather.
"People don't realize Matthew Gaines was the first slave, first black slave voted into the Texas State Senate as a Republican," sad Bartley. "He's the reason why Texas A&M and Prairie View A&M were ever established."
So far, students have raised more than $1,500 and counting.
"It makes me proud that they're starting a fund to do that," said Bartley.
An effort to erect a statue of Gaines on campus fell apart in the 1990's. Now, Key says it's time to make it happen.
"Texas A&M has been in the news decrying Richard Spencer and white nationalists but as of right now, every statue on campus memorializing someone is of a white man," said Key.
If students can pull this off, they'd like to place Gaines' statue right across from the statue of Sul Ross, a former A&M President and Confederate Army general.
"Matthew Gaines deserves a statue and we as Aggie students are determined to make that happen," said Key.
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