Lawmaker wants Confederate symbols removed from Texas Capitol

Governor says ‘racist and hate-filled violence’ are never acceptable

AUSTIN — A state lawmaker wants all Confederate symbols removed from the Texas Capitol grounds, including a plaque that is 40 steps away from his office that rejects the idea that the South seceded from the Union over slavery.

Rep. Eric Johnson, D-Dallas, sent a letter to the State Preservation Board Wednesday asking that it immediately remove the plaque, which was mounted in 1959. It reads, in part, "We … pledge ourselves … to study and teach the truth of history (one of the most important of which is, that the war between the state was not a rebellion, nor was its underlying cause to sustain slavery)."

"The plaque is not historically accurate in the slightest," Johnson said in his letter.He called on the board, which maintains the Capitol’s artifacts, to immediately remove the plaque and asked for meeting with House Speaker Joe Straus, Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick to discuss the removal of all Confederate symbols.

"Given the recent tragic events in Charlottesville, Virginia, I cannot think of a better time than the present to discuss the removal of all Confederate iconography from the Texas Capitol Complex," Johnson said.

Abbott released a prepared statement in response saying, "racist and hate-filled violence" is never acceptable.

He added: "But we must remember that our history isn’t perfect. If we do not learn from our history, we are doomed to repeat it. Instead of trying to bury our past, we must learn from it and ensure it doesn’t happen again. Tearing down monuments won’t erase our nation’s past, and it doesn’t advance our nation’s future."

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Johnson’s letter comes as cities across the country, including Houston, grapple with removing or keeping confederate symbols. Violence erupted in Charlottesville last week, resulting in one woman’s death, when a group of white supremacists decried the city’s decision to remove a statue of Robert E. Lee from a public park.

Read Johnson’s full letter here.

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