Texas Gov. Greg Abbott will meet with state Rep. Eric Johnson, D-Dallas, on Oct. 27 to discuss altering or removing Confederate statues and monuments located on Capitol grounds, a spokesperson for the governor’s office told The Texas Tribune Wednesday.
In August, Johnson sent a letter to the State Preservation Board — which oversees the Capitol grounds — asking for the removal of Confederate iconography from the State Capitol.
Johnson pointed to one particular plaque, which was erected in 1959, located outside his Capitol office. The plaque asserts that the Civil War was “not a rebellion, nor was its underlying cause to sustain slavery.”
“The aforementioned plaque has no rightful place in the Texas Capitol,” Johnson wrote in a letter dated Aug. 16. “The plaque is not historically accurate in the slightest, to which any legitimate, peer-reviewed Civil War historian will attest.”
Abbott agreed to meet with Johnson to discuss the issue in mid-September. The governor previously said removing the monuments “won’t erase our nation’s past, and it doesn’t advance our nation’s future.”
House Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, also chimed in on the debate, writing a separate letter to the State Preservation Board last month asking that the same plaque be removed.
“This is not accurate, and Texans are not well-served by incorrect information about our history,” Straus said. He added that “Confederate monuments and plaques are understandably important to many Texans” but stressed the importance of such landmarks being “accurate and appropriate.”
Straus’ letter to the State Preservation Board and Abbott’s meeting with Johnson is part of a larger conversation — both statewide and national — surrounding Confederate monuments. After a march defending a Robert E. Lee monument in Charlottesville, Virginia, in August erupted into deadly violence, some confederate statues in Texas quickly came down after years of debate including three at the University of Texas at Austin and one in a public park in Dallas.
Johnson, who has long tried to start the conversation on the issue, previously told The Dallas Morning News he is “confident” that Abbott and the State Preservation Board “will do the right thing and decide to remove this particular piece of offensive propaganda from our state Capitol.” Still, there are more than 180 public symbols of the Confederacy around Texas including a dozen just on the Capitol grounds.
This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune at https://www.texastribune.org/2017/10/04/gov-greg-abbott-meet-dallas-lawmaker-discuss-confederate-statues-capit/. The Texas Tribune is a nonprofit, nonpartisan media organization that informs Texans — and engages with them — about public policy, politics, government and statewide issues.