“Confederate monuments have and continue to be a symbol of racism, oppression, and slavery. They are divisie and perpetuate white supremacy, the concept that one race is above all others. These monuments and memorials in and around our Capitol dishonor and insult the many representatives, staff, and visitors who are descendants of slaves,” Anchía wrote in a press release.
“The Texas Capitol is a symbol of solidarity, as lawmakers from various backgrounds and perspectives come together to create change for our communities. The presence of Confederate memorials on the Capitol grounds undermine the unifying work that lawmakers strive to undertake.”
Several Confederate memorials currently occupy the capitol grounds, some quite prominently by the south entrance. The legislation, House Bill (HB) 1186, specifically taps for removal the portraits of Albert Sidney Johnston and Jefferson Davis in the Senate chamber, the portrait of Richard William Dowling in the House chamber, the cannons near the south door, and the monuments to Hood’s Texas Brigade, Confederate Soldiers, and Terry’s Texas Rangers on the grounds.
The John H. Reagan administrative building, named for the first and last postmaster general of the Confederate States, would also gain a new namesake: the Jackson-Webber building, named for abolitionists Nathaniel Jackson and John Ferdinand Webber.
Similar efforts in Washington followed the summer’s protests last year, leaving Texas Republicans divided in the vote to remove Confederate memorials from the U.S. Capitol. The commissioners courts of Denton and Tarrant counties also voted last year to remove the Confederate monuments from their courthouses.
In response to mob attacks on monuments including vandalism of the Confederate Soldiers monument and destruction of a historic fountain at the Texas capitol, state Rep. Kyle Biedermann (R-Fredericksburg) and state Sen. Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe) each swore to file bills to ensure the orderly removal of monuments. Both lawmakers have yet to file their bills.
Anchía said the present “reckoning” of America’s history motivated him to file the legislation.
“Although we cannot change, nor should we deny, the history of our nation, we are at a moment of reckoning, which requires us to stop glorifying traitors, secessionists and racists at the people’s Capitol,” added Rep. Anchía.
Anchía also joined a number of other Democratic lawmakers in a perennial chorus yesterday to eliminate Confederate Heroes Day, an official state holiday. Rep. Jarvis Johnson (D-Houston) plans to introduce legislation that would end it.