Eagle Staff Report
A statue of Matthew Gaines will be unveiled and dedicated on the Texas A&M campus at 3 p.m. on November 19.
The statue will be in Janacek Square, near the Rudder Tower and the Student Services Building.
Gaines is a former slave and Washington County’s first black senator. He was instrumental in passing Senate Bill 276, which established the Texas Agricultural and Mechanical College under the Land Grant College Act of 1862, also known as the Morrill Act.
An effort to secure a statue of Gaines on the A&M campus dates back to the 1980s. In 2017, the Matthew Gaines Initiative was formed with the primary objective of putting the statue on campus.
In June 2020, after a fundraising campaign, the Gaines Initiative announced that it had raised more than $ 350,000, including a $ 100,000 donation from Chancellor A&M John Sharp. After meeting fundraising goals, the leaders of the Gaines Initiative changed the group’s name to Matthew Gaines Society and broadened the organization’s mission.
About 70 artists applied to be the artist for the statue, which was selected in November.
Although A&M announced in January that the Lawrence Sullivan Ross statue, which was the subject of several protests last year, would remain at Academic Plaza, a task force has been formed to help say more about the history of A&M through iconography.