Clio Logo
When many Americans think of Statues commemorating Confederate icons and heritage, they often come to the misconception that these statues were either erected during or right after the war and reconstruction. However, this is often not the case, as many were often erected years after reconstruction. But considering these facts, Jay Anderson's “The Rebels” at Dixie State University is quite unusual because of several distinct factors. For instance, it was originally created in 1987 for a mall where it resided until 1993, when it was moved to Dixie state university. Its initial controversy placement and creation did not garner notable controversy. However, over the monument's tenure at the university, it became such a point of contention that it was removed in 2012.

A photo of the monument being hauled off to its original owner, by Chris Cladwell. The low resolution, and heavy compression makes this photo a bit hard to make out the details. Otherwise, the saturations and range of this photograph seem decent. The clear Utah sky and afternoon sunlight bring shadow the former monument, like it’s riding into the sunset never to be seen again. A higher resolution image from the website would be preferable

Sky, Wheel, Horse, Tire

Horse, Sky, Cloud, Plant

Utah’s Dixie identity:

Before the statue could be talked about, it is important to know about Utah’s Dixie identity. The state’s character comes from the initial Latter-Day-Saints settlers of the Utah territory and their intentions(“Robert D. Covington.”). The colonists of the Utah territory, some of them southeast, started a southeastern styled right before the outbreak of the Civil War (Cahoon). Because of this, the initial settlers wanted to adopt the southern Dixie identity. This entailed adopting the icons, images, and values of the southeast (“Marcus Stucki: Tell the Whole History of Utah’s Dixie.”). For instance, after the Civil War ceased, many in Utah adopted the confederate battle flag as an icon. Hence, for that reason, many of these settlers unfortunately owned slaves, which they used to work the plantation. (“Marcus Stucki: Tell the Whole History of Utah’s Dixie.”)


“The Rebels” monument is a life-sized bronze statue created by local sculptor Jay Anderson in 1987. Inspired by the song “Two Little Boys” by Edward Madden. Published in 1902, it is about two brothers fighting in the Boer War where one brother helped him escape the Boers by helping up the other brother on his horse(“Two Little Boys.”). The sculpture depicts two brothers in the Confederate army, one lying on the ground while the other is on a horse carrying a confederate battle flag helping him up. It was meant to communicate brotherly comradery and the cooperation between two soldiers. Initially, it was placed in The Green Valley Mall where it resided for five years until it was moved to Dixie State University in 1993(“Dixie State, Sculptor Agree on Future of ‘The Rebels’ Statue.”). Unlike the statues in the southeast, the initial creation display of the monument did not receive any initial fan-fair or controversy. However, as conversations about the role of confederate monuments in fomenting racial issues became mainstream, the statue, and the university’s Dixie identity became decisive among Dixie State University alumni.

Removal & Controversy:

Because of the problematic history of the initial settlers, debate about if the stature should be removed or not has slowly swelled. This lead to an incident in late November 2012 where an unidentified individual draped a sheet over the statue’s flag. Fearing that the statue would be further vandalized, the university reluctantly returned the statue to its original artist, Jay Anderson a week later. The sculptor disagreed with the decision saying, “They are a bunch of wusses. That's the first action taken to get rid of it. The other people are winning. That's the way it is in the world. We are giving in to people who really aren't Americans.” (“Amid Name Debate, Dixie Removes Confederate Statue.”) However, many on the school board agreed with the decision, for instance, chairman Stan Gluber said "We have no intention to be racially biased," and "This was never intended to be hurtful, but the world doesn't see it that way, and we have invited the world here." Despite the overwhelming disdain of the monument among some, the statue’s removal cause vocal clamor(“Letter to the Editor: Restore Dixie; Bring Back the Rebel and the Confederate Statue.”). For instance, in a December, 12th 2012 letter to the editor by Ryan Schudde, where he complained that the statue’s removal is an erasure of history and, that it could lead down a further slippery slope. As well as there being quarrels regarding the statue’s itself, many are concerned about the title “Dixie State University.” The then student body president Brody Mikesell and former trustee chairman Stan Gluber lobbied to downplay the name, fearing it could scare off future alumni because of the potential racist imagery it could evoke. (“Amid Name Debate, Dixie Removes Confederate Statue.”) Despite two prominent members lobbying for a name change, the university retained their identity, fearing that many donors would drop out if it occurred (“Name Change Protest Draws Large Crowd to Utah University.”).


Because the statue short lifespan and overall late creation made this one an interesting curiosity. Even considering the late creations of most confederate monuments, this one is even stranger because it was created a century after many other statues and memorials, considering it was created in the late eighties. And what makes it even stranger is its relatively quick removal, only lasting a mere nineteen years at Dixie State University before its removal. Because of all these factors, it demonstrates the almost everlasting impact of the Confederate States of America on our culture and average person’s understanding of our histories and; the deep divides it creates.

“Amid Name Debate, Dixie Removes Confederate Statue.” n.d. The Salt Lake Tribune. Accessed May 5, 2021.

Cahoon, Harold P. 1996. Utah’s “Dixie” Birthplace: Locations of Early Pioneer Sites in Washington City, Utah, Pinpointed on a Washington City Map and Stories about the People Who Lived There. [Washington City, Utah]: Washington City Historical Society.,sso&db=edshlc&AN=edshlc.007067588.0&site=eds-live&custid=stvincol.

“Dixie State, Sculptor Agree on Future of ‘The Rebels’ Statue.” n.d. Accessed April 19, 2021a.

“———.” n.d. Accessed May 5, 2021b.

“———.” n.d. Accessed April 19, 2021b.

“Letter to the Editor: Restore Dixie; Bring Back the Rebel and the Confederate Statue.” n.d. Accessed May 5, 2021.

“Marcus Stucki: Tell the Whole History of Utah’s Dixie.” n.d. The Salt Lake Tribune. Accessed May 5, 2021.

“Name Change Protest Draws Large Crowd to Utah University.” n.d. US News & World Report. Accessed May 5, 2021. //

“Robert D. Covington.” n.d. Accessed May 5, 2021.

“Two Little Boys.” 2021. In Wikipedia.

Image Sources(Click to expand)

“Dixie State, Sculptor Agree on Future of ‘The Rebels’ Statue.” Accessed April 19, 2021.