Lawmakers inch toward removing Confederate plaque from Texas Capitol
AUSTIN — Presumptive House Speaker Dennis Bonnen is throwing his weight behind the effort to take down a Confederate plaque from the halls of the Texas Capitol, after some lawmakers have pushed more than year for its removal.
The plaque was erected by the Children of the Confederacy in 1959 and claims the underlying cause of the Civil War was not to sustain slavery, which is not true as the preservation of slavery was listed in documents calling for the secession of Texas from the United States. Dallas Democrat Eric Johnson pressed state officials to remove the plaque following a deadly protest in Charlottesville, N.C., in 2017, but the monument remained as officials either responded that the state should learn from its past or punted the decision to other governing agencies.
The prospects of taking down the plaque changed in November when Attorney General Ken Paxton opined that several groups could authorize the plaque’s removal, including the six-member State Preservation Board, which is led by Gov. Greg Abbott. The governor had said in 2017 that “tearing down monuments won’t erase our nation’s past, and it doesn’t advance our nation’s future.”
But while running for re-election this fall, Abbott indicated his position had shifted, “But should they take it down because of its factual inaccuracy?” Abbott said during a TV debate. “Absolutely.”
Abbott’s office has since called for a meeting of the State Preservation Board for Jan. 11.
“I commend the Governor for calling this meeting to begin the process of removing the confederate plaque from the halls of the State Capitol,” Bonnen said in a statement. “It is historically inaccurate, and I stand by those who have called for its removal.”