School officials at a New Orleans university have removed its “Victory Bell” after learning that it was used on a plantation and symbolized a “horrific part of our nation’s past.”
In a letter to students on Thursday, officials at Tulane University said it was “terribly disheartening” to learn about the history of the monument, which they called a “symbol of the Tulane spirit.”
The bell came to the university six decades ago. For years, it was rung to celebrate Tulane basketball victories.
But the letter, from university board chairman Doug Hertz and president Mike Fitts, said that officials learned last week that the bell was forged in and was used to direct the movement of enslaved Africans.
“Now” that we understand its history as an instrument of slavery, continuing to use this bell in a celebratory manner would run counter to our values as a university community, ”the letter said.
The bell was moved to storage on Thursday while the school further investigates its origins. The letter added that officials are still determining what to do with it next.
Tim Stelloh is a reporter for NBC News, based in California.