Texas Has Removed 31 Confederate Memorials--Why is This One Still Up?

posted by 1200 WOAI -

Texas has removed or renamed some 31 Confederate monuments in the two and a half years since the shooting of several African American parishioners at a South Carolina church by a rebel flag waving gunman prompted a re-examination of the role of Confederate symbology in today's world.

But, 1200 WOAI news reports, the most egregious Confederate monument of all remains, and it is in one of the most visible places in the state, in the rotunda of the State Capitol building in Austin.

It is called the 'Children of the Confederacy Creed,' and it actually claims that the Civil War was 'not about slavery,' and that Texas 'did not rebel against the United States.

"This is not even historically accurate, in fact it is an outright lie," says State Rep. Eric Johnson (D-Dallas).  "It says that the Civil War was not fought over slavery, that slavery was not an underlying cause of the Civil War, which is blatantly untrue."

But despite the effort to remove monuments to people with mixed legacies like Robert E. Lee, Johnson says it is amazing that this outright lie remains on the walls of the state's most significant building is baffling to him.

Johnson says tens of thousand of children pass through the halls of the State Capitol every year, and it is not right to give them this stilted view of the state's history.

"We've got to tell them the truth about where we come from as a people," he said.  "Hopefully that plaque will come down soon."

The plaque was erected in 1959, as the Civil Rights movement began to gain steam.  Gov. Greg Abbott has agreed that it should come down, but the issue appears to be who has the authority to remove it.

The claims about slavery and the Civil War are directly contracted by the words of the Texas Ordinance of Secession, which was approved by the Texas Legislature in February of 1861.

In discussing Texas joining the United States 15 years earlier, the lawmakers wrote, "She was received as a commonwealth holding, maintaining and protecting the institution known as negro slavery--the servitude of the African to the white race within her limits--a relation that had existed from the first settlement of her wilderness by the white race, and which her people intended should exist in all future time."

The declaration goes on to praise the "beneficent and patriarchal system of African slavery, proclaiming the debasing doctrine of the equality of all men, irrespective of race or color--a doctrine at war with nature, in opposition to the experience of mankind, and in violation of the plainest revelations of the Divine Law."

In language that is difficult to read today, the declaration declares the "the servitude of the African race, as existing in these States, is mutually beneficial to both bond and free, and is abundantly authorized and justified by the experience of mankind, and the revealed will of the Almighty Creator, as recognized by all Christian nations."

This was written at a time when both Great Britain and the Republic of France had outlawed the slave trade, and just one year before Russia, which has never been known as a beacon of freedom, emancipated the serfs.

WOAI PHOTO

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