Clinging to the Confederacy With House Bill 583

The Children of the Confederacy plaque was taken down in January of this year.
The "Children of the Confederacy" plaque was taken down in January of this year. (Photos courtesy of Eric Johnson's office)

Lost Cause fans came out in force for legislation that would make it more difficult to rid the state of rebel relics. House Bill 583 by Rep. James White, R-Hillister, would require a city or county that wants to alter, relocate, or destroy a monument that has been standing for 20-40 years to put the matter to its voters; alterations to state-owned monuments would require approval by both houses of the Legislature. Older monuments could not be touched at all – such as the notorious and erroneous "Children of the Confederacy" plaque that came down in January after 60 years at the Capitol.

Speaking for the bill, former Land Com­missioner Jerry Patterson tried to make the point that "no ethnic group is without sin" – for example, the African-American Buffalo Soldiers, who "participated in a genocidal war against an entire race of people, the American Plains Indians, and put them on reservations, in effect, as slaves." Committee member Rep. Jarvis Johnson, D-Hous­ton, wasn't having it. "Should we erect a statue that demonstrated how slaves were disciplined? If we want to teach, should we erect a statue with slaves hanging from a tree? Should we erect a monument that demonstrates Indians being mutilated and run out of their land? No, we're not, it's vile," he said. "We don't need to celebrate certain people that had my ancestors in bondage." The bill was left pending in committee...

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