TEXAS: Black Lawmakers Hope To See ‘Confederate Heroes Day’ Abolished
Texas Democratic lawmakers have long tried to remove Confederate Heroes Day from calendars, and they have high hopes that 2021 could be the year it happens.
The holiday comes just a day after Martin Luther King Jr. Day and simultaneously celebrates Confederate soldiers and Robert E. Lee’s birthday. A bill filed in 2019 to abolish the holiday failed, but lawmakers believe the amount of racial unrest last summer could work in their favor this legislative session.
“The killing of George Floyd, a Texan, and the killing of Atatiana Jefferson, another Texan, at the hands of law enforcement, certainly do underscore the importance of removing a day of remembrance that brings to the mind slavery and oppression,” said state Rep. Nicole Collier, as reported by the Texas Tribune’s Neelam Bohra.
Houston was one of many cities that opted to remove Confederate statues from public display in light of the killings. The “Spirit of The Confederacy” statue was moved to Houston’s Museum of African American Culture and a statue of Richard W. “Dick” Dowling was placed at the Sabine Pass Battleground State Historical Site near Port Arthur.
If things go as planned, statues would just be the first step.
Houston state representatives Jarvis Johnson and Shawn Thierry filed two bills this session attempting to have the holiday removed, with Johnson calling it a chance to erase hurtful imagery that serves as a reminder of the country’s horrible past.
“This is an opportunity for us to bring and shine light on social injustice, how Black people across this country have been demonized and have been treated unfairly by the judicial system, the criminal justice system,” Johnson said.