Texans led by Republican Gov. Greg Abbott voted Friday to remove a historically inaccurate plaque from the state capitol rejecting slavery as the underlying cause of the Civil War.
The State Preservation Board, chaired by Mr. Abbott, unanimously voted in support of removing the “Children of the Confederacy Creed” plaque from inside the Capitol in Austin, heeding bipartisan calls for its removal nearly 60 years since its installation.
Created in 1959, the plaque asserts the Civil War was “not a rebellion, nor was its underlying cause to sustain slavery.”
Former Texas state House Speaker Joe Straus, a Republican representing San Antonio, called for the plaque’s removal in September 2017, a month after a rally held in support of a Confederate statue resulted in the murder of a counterprotester in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Texas state House Rep. Eric Johnson, a Democrat representing Dallas, subsequently filed an official request with the State Preservation Board seeking the plaque’s removal in October 2017, paving the way for Friday’s vote.
“While I’m glad the State Preservation Board voted to remove the ‘Children of the Confederacy Creed’ plaque from the Texas Capitol, none of us in state government should be high-fiving each other or patting ourselves on the back today,” Mr. Johnson said in a statement.
“The plaque should never have been put up by the Legislature in the first place, and it certainly shouldn’t have taken sixty years to remove it. And that’s on Republicans and Democrats alike, to be perfectly honest,” Mr. Johnson added.
Board members who voted to remove the plaque include four Republican politicians – Mr. Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, state Rep. Dennis Bonnen, the current Texas House speaker, and state Rep. Jeff Leach — and a citizen representative, Alethea Swann Bugg. Each “cast their votes Friday and quickly left the room without comment,” The Houston Chronicle reported.
“The plaque should never have been installed — and it has been there for far too long,” Mr. Leach said on Twitter afterward. “We celebrate because today is the day that ends.”
Located near the Capitol rotunda, the plaque is one of nearly a dozen Confederate markers located around the building, and the first slated for removal since the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, The Associated Press reported.
Billed as a rally held in support of a state of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee that Charlottesville planned to remove from a city park, the demonstration quickly turned violent prior to culminating in the murder of Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old counterprotester killed in an automobile attack by a “Unite the Right” attendee.
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