Fight continues over Texas' Confederate holiday
Thursday is Confederate Heroes Day in Texas.
Why it matters: The past is very much present here.
Catch up fast: Marking Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee's birthday, the holiday — which is also meant to honor Confederate President Jefferson Davis — has its roots in the Jim Crow period.
- It's a partial holiday, so state offices remain open and a skeleton crew is required, but employees can either take the day off or use the paid time off at a later date.
Between the lines: We know of state employees who work on Confederate Heroes Day because they can't stomach taking it off.
Flashback: In 2019, a state board that oversees the Texas Capitol grounds voted to remove a 1959 plaque that claimed the Civil War was "not a rebellion, nor was its underlying cause to sustain slavery."
- The Children of the Confederacy Creed plaque remains in archival storage, the general counsel of the State Preservation Board tells Axios.
Yes, but: At least a half-dozen Confederate memorials remain on the Capitol grounds.
- The 1903 Memorial to the Confederate Dead, topped by a statue of Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederate States, is dedicated to those who "died for states' rights guaranteed under the Constitution."
- "The people of the South, animated by the spirit of 1776, to preserve their rights, withdrew from the federal compact in 1861," reads the memorial. "The North resorted to coercion. The South, against overwhelming numbers and resources, fought until exhausted."
What they're saying: "We cannot stand by as our state continues to formally celebrate and glorify the men who believed so deeply that Black men and women did not have rights that they would go to war," state Rep. Christina Morales, a Houston Democrat who is vice chair for the Mexican American Legislative Caucus, said Wednesday as lawmakers called for an end to the holiday.
Reality check: Abolishing the holiday stands little chance in the Republican-controlled Legislature.
- An abolishment measure last session failed to get a committee hearing — and a 2015 effort by Austin Democrat Donna Howard to rename it Civil War Remembrance Day never got out of committee.
More Austin stories
No stories could be found
Get a free daily digest of the most important news in your backyard with Axios Austin.