Confederate plaque at Texas Capitol building coming down after complaints about accuracy
The Texas State Preservation Board voted unanimously Friday to remove the controversial Children of the Confederacy plaque from the state Capitol building in Austin. And least at least one lawmaker is hoping it will lead to the scrutiny of other Confederate displays.
When was it displayed?
Since 1959 the plaque has hung on a wall at the Texas Capitol. It states, in part: "the War between the States was not a rebellion, nor was its underlying cause to sustain slavery."
Members of the board, which is in charge of historical monuments at the state Capitol, include Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Speaker of the Texas House Dennis Bonnen — all Republicans. They did not make any remarks during the meeting that lasted for several minutes, the Dallas Morning News reported.
A motion to remove the marker was made by board member Rep. Jeff Leach, a Republican, the report states.
"This inaccurate plaque is a historical abomination — and I am happy to know that it will no longer have a home in the Texas Capitol," he reportedly said after the meeting.
Abbott, Bonnen and Leach also said previously the plaque should be removed because it's inaccurate. Rep. Eric Johnson (D-Dallas) helped lead a push to get it removed.
"This is really not a time to pat ourselves on the back," Johnson told the media. "I'm glad that the Preservation Board ultimately decided to remove it. But, again, 60 years is a long time for a blatant lie to sit in the state Capitol like that."
Johnson called the vote "perfunctory" and "devoid of emotion," the news outlet reported. He also said he hopes the plaque's removal will lead to more conversations about "dozens" of other Confederate displays on Capitol grounds, according to the report.
The plaque "isn't actual history," Johnson reportedly said. "This is the early or mid-20th century version of fake news. And that's exactly why it had to come down."
In an opinion last year, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said that the plaque could come down without a vote of the full state Legislature.
The State Preservation Board has six governing members that include the governor, lieutenant governor, speaker, one state senator, one state representative and one member of the public, according to the Dallas Morning News.
Patrick did not appoint a member of the Senate to the board after the term of Republican Lois Kolkhorst expired this week, the report states. The remaining five members all voted to remove the plaque.
No announcements were made regarding when the plaque will be removed and what will happen to it.
In all, Texas has more than 180 public symbols of the Confederacy on display — a figure that makes the state second only to Virginia, according to the Texas Tribune.
What's happening nationally?
Nationally, at least 110 Confederate memorials have been removed in 22 states since 2015. At least 1,700 remain.
A movement to nix Confederate memorials gained traction after a massacre killed nine African-Americans at a traditionally black church in Charleston, South Carolina. Critics call the displays racist, while supporters believe they should remain because they reflect part of the nation's history.