Tag Archives: Confederate States of America

By all means, change the name of that school

Amarillo’s public school trustees have made the correct call in initiating the process of changing the name of a school identified with someone who sought to overthrow the government of the United States of America.

I refer to Lee Elementary School, once named Robert E. Lee Elementary School. Amarillo Independent School District trustees, feeling the heat over other communities’ struggles with monuments and buildings named after the Confederate Army general, decided to drop the “Robert E.” from the name, believing that would soften the impact of the general’s presence.

Now the name “Lee” is coming off the campus altogether. The AISD board is going to consider some suitable replacement.

This is a good call.

For starters, the school serves a predominantly African-American neighborhood. Why did Gen. Lee join with his native Virginia in seeking to overthrow the government during the Civil War? Well, because the Confederate States of America wanted the right to continue holding human beings — African-Americans — in bondage. They were slaves! Properties of their white masters!

Amarillo’s history is full of pioneers who were champions of public education, or they helped settle the region, or helped build the community. AISD’s elementary, middle, junior high and high schools already carry names of significance to Amarillo and the Texas Panhandle. They haven’t used ’em all up!

As for Gen. Lee, his name belongs in museums dedicated to explaining why he decided to go to war against the Union. It doesn’t belong on the side of a building serving a neighborhood full of descendants of those he and his Confederate comrades sought to enslave.

As AISD trustee John Ben Blanchard, who resigned from the board this week, said: “My hope is that the name of Lee Elementary will be changed to something that is not divisive or offensive to our community.”

It’s my hope, too.

Texas GOP wages new ‘civil war’ against cities

A progressive publication has called attention to what it sees as a fascinating new reaction to “liberal” cities’ attempts to rid themselves of monuments to arguably the darkest period in American history.

Texas cities are taking action to remove monuments to the Confederate States of America, which formed in 1861, declared war on the United States of America for the purpose of preserving states’ rights to enslave human beings, to allow them to be kept as property.

Dallas is the latest and perhaps most notable city to take action, according to the Texas Observer. The Texas Legislature led by a Republican super-majority in both legislative chambers, is fighting cities’ efforts to eradicate those symbols of treason against the United States.

The Observer notes that more than 30 Confederate monuments have been removed from Texas municipal property between 2015 and 2018. As the Observer noted: This has sparked an intense backlash from Anglo conservatives who see the removal of these monuments as an erasure of their Antebellum heritage. Activist groups pumped out robocalls and radio ads calling on Texas Republicans to keep the monuments in place.

The Dallas City Council approved a measure in 2018 to take down a century-old statue in downtown Dallas. It’s still standing. It has become a rallying cry, according to the Observer, of those who want such symbols to stand as a testament to Texas’s “heritage.”

Two bills, one in each legislative chamber, were introduced this legislative session that would strip local governments’ authority to take down these monuments or to rename public streets, parks or other property. As the Observer noted: Brandon Creighton, a Republican senator from suburban Houston who authored the upper-chamber version, brought the bill to the Senate floor Tuesday, prompting a heated and emotional debate. Houston Senator Borris Miles, one of the Senate’s two black members, called the legislation “disgraceful.”

Is this really going on here? Is this some sort of legislative hanky-panky aimed at circumventing cities’ ability to self-govern? What’s more, is it a form of “municipal aggression,” as the Observer calls it, launched by conservative legislators to get back at more, um, progressive/liberal politicians who wield power in city halls or county courthouses?

Again, from the Observer: Texas isn’t alone. For years, red states have enacted laws prohibiting cities from establishing local minimum wages and other labor protections. In the face of renewed public opposition to Confederate monuments, several Southern states have passed laws making it extremely difficult to remove historical monuments.

I continue to stand with those who believe the Confederacy is nothing to be saluted, or honored. The Confederate States of America committed treason against the United States of America. It was by the grace of President Lincoln who said in his second inaugural speech that he would  seek “with malice toward none and charity for all” to bind the wounds that the Civil War inflicted on the nation.

None of that, though, should stand as a reason to honor the cause of that bloodshed.

Another Confederate monument to come down

The Dallas City Council has joined the chorus of governing bodies to speak out against the memorialization of a struggle that sought to destroy the United States of America.

Voting 11-4, the council decided to remove a Confederate war memorial from property near City Hall in downtown Dallas.

I will stand and cheer the council’s decision.

The monument, as stated at the council meeting, is “non-contributing structure for the historic overlay district.” I guess that’s some sort of code that means the structure is of no discernable value.

Bring it down! The council voted to spend $480,000 to disassemble and remove it.

Confederate War Memorial is coming down

Statues such as this have a place in museums. They don’t belong necessarily on public property. Other communities have been going through this debate for some time. They are taking down these structures — statues, plaques, engravings, etc. — that commemorate the Civil War, the nation’s bloodiest conflict.

Let’s not be coy or cagey about why the Confederacy came into being: Those states wanted to retain the power to enslave human beings, to relegate them to be the “property” of slave owners.

To preserve that hideous policy, they formed the Confederate States of America and then some Confederate troops opened fire on the Union garrison in Charleston Bay, S.C.

Thus, in April 1861, the Civil War began with an act of treason!

We shouldn’t honor such an act.

The Civil War plaque is coming down! Yes!

Texas Republicans must be smitten with a rash of reason and sanity.

The GOP-influenced State Preservation Board that oversees the Texas Capitol grounds has voted to remove a plaque that declares that the Confederacy did not launch a “rebellion” that started the Civil War and that the bloody conflict’s “underlying cause” was not to “sustain slavery.”

Of course it was to allow states to keep slaves and it most certainly was a “rebellion” ignited by the Confederate States of America.

The plaque was installed by the Children of the Confederate Creed. It had been the subject of a yearlong string of complaints from those who called it historically false.

Gov. Greg Abbott, who chairs the board, called for the plaque’s removal, as did House Speaker Dennis Bonnen. State Rep. Jeff Leach, a Plano Republican who was just appointed to the board by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, said, “If I had a sledgehammer in my office, I’d go up there right now and remove it. But I’m told that’s not necessary as it will be removed very soon.”

There you have it. Reason has prevailed.

The plaque needs to come down. Thank goodness it will.

This plaque is a museum piece

The presumptive speaker of the Texas House of Representatives is making his presence felt even before the next Legislature convenes.

Republican Dennis Bonnen has joined the chorus of those who want to remove a plaque in the State Capitol Building that declares that the Civil War was “not a rebellion” and that its “underlying cause (was not) to retain slavery.”

Duh! Of course it was to keep allowing people to enslave fellow human beings. And, yes, it was a rebellion by 13 states comprising the Confederate States of America to separate from the United States of America.

Bonnen has joined Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush, a fellow Republican, in calling for the removal of the plaque. Indeed, Gov. Greg Abbott — yet another GOP officeholder — has assigned a board in charge with managing state grounds to consider whether to remove the plaque. Abbott’s decision comes after Attorney General Ken Paxton ruled that the board has the authority to remove the plaque if it sees fit to do so.

The plaque contains text under the heading “Children of the Confederacy Creed.” It revises history to suggest that the Civil War, which began when Confederates opened fire on the Union garrison stationed in Charleston, S.C., was not a rebellion. It most certainly was!

As for the slavery issue, the CSA formed to preserve what it called “states’ rights,” which included the “right” for citizens to keep owning slaves, denying fellow human beings any semblance of citizenship.

According to the Texas Tribune, state Rep. Eric Johnson, D-Dallas, whose office is next to the plaque, wrote Texas Historic Preservation Board, telling the agency that the plaque “is not historically accurate in the slightest, to which any legitimate, peer-reviewed Civil War historian will attest.”

Yep, the plaque needs to come down. As George P. Bush stated in a tweet, “these displays belong in museums, not in our state capitol.”

Espy vs. Hyde-Smith: Race still matters . . . sadly

I do wish this weren’t the case, but race still matters in determining our elected leadership in many of our states.

I fear we’re going to see an example of it at the end of today when they count the ballots in Mississippi, a state long held up as an example where bigotry and racism run rampant.

U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith is running for election to a seat to which she was appointed. The Republican is facing Democrat Mike Espy, a former agriculture secretary in the Clinton administration and a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives. It’s a runoff election, with Hyde-Smith and Espy competing as the top two finishers in an open contest featuring candidates from both major parties.

It doesn’t look good for Espy at this moment. Why? Well, Espy is an African-American candidate. He also is known as a moderate Democrat, a thoughtful fellow with extensive government experience.

Hyde-Smith has been caught in a number of troubling incidents. She said just a few weeks ago that she would be on the front row if she were invited to a “public hanging.” Many substituted the term “hanging” with “lynching,” which of course sounds the siren to African-Americans who know what that entails.

She then offered one of those idiotic non-apologies, saying she is sorry to “anyone who was offended” by her remarks. She also had her picture taken in 2014 wearing a Confederate cap, packing a rifle under a caption that extolled the Confederacy’s glowing role in state history.

Sheesh, man!

Mississippi is a deeply Republican state. Espy is hoping to capture lightning with a record African-American turnout today, while winning roughly a quarter of the white vote. Will it happen? I hope it does.

Here, though, is one more kick in the gut: The third-place finisher in that earlier election was a Donald Trump sycophant, Chris McDaniel; most of the votes that McDaniel got are damn near a cinch to end up in Hyde-Smith’s column at day’s end.

Yes, we should all should be interested in this race, even though it’s down yonder in Mississippi. The winner will help write national laws that affect all of us.

Thus, I am pulling for Mike Espy.

Yes, on renaming Virginia highway!

Good job, Alexandria (Va.) City Council.

The council has yanked the name of an American traitor off a highway that runs from Arlington to Richmond.

It thoroughfare was formerly known as the Jefferson Davis Highway. Its new name will be the Richmond Highway.

Jefferson Davis, of course, was the president of the Confederate States of America. The CSA decided in 1861 to declare war against the United States of America. Confederate artillery gunners then opened fire on the Union garrison at Fort Sumpter, S.C.

Thus, the Civil War began. It would end four years later with roughly 600,000 men dying on battlefields throughout the North and South.

Jefferson Davis’s complicity in launching that war is beyond dispute. He was a traitor to the nation. Do we honor such individuals? Should we honor them? Of course not! Indeed, a school in Richmond will be renamed in honor of Barack H. Obama, after carrying the name of Confederate Army Gen. (and another traitor) J.E.B. Stuart.

As The Hill reported: There has been a massive push to rename markers and landmarks named after members of the Confederacy following the Charleston shooting and the Charlottesville, Va., white supremacy rally last year.

Accordingly, the Arlington City Council has just struck down one more tribute to an infamous historical figure.

AISD might join important national debate

Amarillo isn’t known as a community to get involved deeply in intense national debates.

So it is with some surprise that I have learned that the Amarillo Independent School District is considering whether to change the name of an elementary school named after a Confederate army general.

Robert E. Lee Elementary School is now in the AISD crosshairs, joining other such public structures that have been targeted in the wake of recent controversy surrounding the a sad and tragic chapter in our nation’s history.

Lee School sits in the middle of a largely African-American neighborhood. We all know, of course, who Robert E. Lee was. For those who don’t, I’ll just explain briefly: He was the commander of Confederate army forces that fought on the losing side of the American Civil War. Oh, and why did the Confederates fight against the United States of America? They wanted to break up the Union.

Those who fought for the Confederacy fought against the United States. By my way of looking at it, the Confederates were traitors. Do we honor them, therefore, by putting their names on public buildings?

So, AISD trustees next week are going to visit with legal counsel to discuss a possible name change. The decision to consider such a thing has met with approval from local NAACP leaders.

AISD building-naming policy follows that new schools are named after the neighborhood they serve. AISD does make some exceptions, such as naming a school in a largely black neighborhood after a man who fought to preserve slavery.

This issue came to a full boil in the wake of the Charlottesville, Va., riot involving white supremacists, Klansmen and neo-Nazis who fought against counter protesters. It’s simmered down somewhat, but a serious national conversation has continued.

It has arrived in Amarillo, Texas.

AISD board president James Austin said he hasn’t yet made up his mind on whether to support a name change. That’s fine. Take your time, Mr. President.

I happen to think a name change is in order. But that’s just me.

‘Socialistic fear mongers’? C’mon, Commissioner Miller

Sid Miller thinks badly of Six Flag of Texas’s decision to remove the Confederate flag from its entrance in Arlington.

The state agriculture commissioner is entitled to his opinion. I wonder, though, why someone with responsibility of Texas farm and ranch policy would weigh in on a matter over which he has zero influence.

He is an elected public official. Miller, thus, is entitled to speak out.

Since he is an elected official and since he has taken his anger out on Six Flags, I intend to respond briefly here.

First, pipe down. Second, the Confederate flag represents something quite different to millions of Miller’s fellow Texans. As the Texas Tribune reported: “The monuments honoring our southern soldiers are but a first step in a trend that very well could eventually bring down the American flag at some point if this trend is allowed to continue,” Miller said. “I was extremely disappointed to hear that Six Flags over Texas in Arlington had succumb to this scourge of race baiting, liberal activism and that the company had decided to bring down the six historic flags that flew over Texas.”

Good grief, dude! No one is going to “bring down the American flag.” Settle down, commissioner.

There’s also this from the Tribune: In his statement, Miller suggested the park was “implying that one should look upon [the removed flags] with shame and dismay,” and appeasing a  “band of socialistic fear mongers.”

Sheesh.

The monuments honoring “our southern soldiers” also remind many of us that the Confederacy was formed out of an act of treason. It took form when states — such as Texas — seceded from the Union and then went to war with the United States of America.

Why did they do that? They went to war to fight for the right of states to continue hold human beings in bondage, to keep them enslaved.

All Six Flags did was take down the Confederate flag — one of the flags under which Texas has existed — because the Confederacy represents division, bloodshed and, yes, slavery. It chose instead to fly just Old Glory at its front gate.

What’s so wrong with flying the Red, White and Blue?

Put Confederates in museums, and study what they did

I suppose it’s time to make a decision on what I think we should do with these Confederates statues scattered around many of our states.

Put ’em in museums. Make displays of them and then explain to visitors who these men were, what they did and tell the world about the consequences of their actions.

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott weighed in this week on the subject in the wake of the Charlottesville, Va., mayhem that left a young woman and two Virginia state troopers dead. The pro-Nazi/white supremacist/Klan march prompted a counter protest that turned violent.

And for what? Because the hate groups sought to protest the removal of a statue from a public park of Robert E. Lee, the Confederate general who led the army that fought against the United States of America.

According to the Texas Tribune  — “Racist and hate-filled violence – in any form — is never acceptable, and as Governor I have acted to quell it,” Abbott said in the statement. “My goal as governor is to eliminate the racist and hate-filled environment we are seeing in our country today.”

“But we must remember that our history isn’t perfect,” Abbott added. “If we do not learn from our history, we are doomed to repeat it. Instead of trying to bury our past, we must learn from it and ensure it doesn’t happen again. Tearing down monuments won’t erase our nation’s past, and it doesn’t advance our nation’s future. As Governor, I will advance that future through peace, not violence, and I will do all I can to keep our citizens safe.”

Those are noble words and sentiments. I am not going to go the distance on these monuments. I share Gov. Abbott’s view that they shouldn’t be torn down and destroyed. But I also share the view of those who wonder why we “honor” individuals who turned on the Republic, ignited a bloody Civil War and fought to preserve “states’ rights” to enslave human beings.

These traitors to the nation don’t deserve to be honored with parks and structures that carry their names. They don’t deserve to have statues displayed in public places frequented by Americans who are direct descendants of those who had been kept in bondage.

I rather would see these monuments relocated as museum pieces accompanied by narratives that explain who they are and the role they played in that terrible, dark chapter in our otherwise glorious national story.

The governor said removing the statues “won’t erase our nation’s past, and it doesn’t advance our nation’s future.”

It shouldn’t erase the past, governor. As for the future, well, we advance it by keeping the egregious errors of our past in full view and presenting it in complete context to ensure we don’t repeat them.