Texas leading country in removal of Confederate monuments, other symbols

HOUSTON - The Lone Star State is leading the way.  After nine worshipers were killed in the shooting at a Charleston, South Carolina church in 2015, America took a deeper look at race, hate and the Civil War.

The Southern Poverty Law Center says since 2015, more than 100 monuments and other Confederate symbols have been removed in 22 states.

Texas removed 31 monuments and symbols, more than any other state, with Virginia coming in a distant second at 14.

Even on Thursday, House Speaker Joe Straus submitted a legal brief to the state attorney general requesting removal of a plaque from the state capitol that many say misrepresents the cause of the Civil War.

The removals in the study include changing names of streets, schools, parks and the removal of flags. The breakdown for Texas included eight monuments and 20 school name changes.

“I think it's a great thing that we've done, but it's only a start. It's not enough for us to  start the process, we have to finish just as strongly as we started,” says Community Activist Deric Muhammad.

While Texas has removed the most, it still has much to remove, more than 200. (It's second only to Virginia.)

“It's not enough for us to get away with a few of the symbols being removed, we have to remove the ideas that the symbols represent,” Muhammad said.

Of those eight monuments removed in Texas, not one was in the city of Houston.

Even after protests erupted in August 2017 over the removal of the Spirit of the Confederacy from Sam Houston Park, it still stands there today.

The mayor appointed a task force to look into statues at city owned properties, but the group has yet to make it's final recommendations.

But if we continue scrubbing the history clean, Muhammad asks: why stop short?

“The very city that we're in right now is named after Sam Houston who was a known slave holder. Let's scrub the whole thing clean, let's rename the City of Houston, Leland, Texas after Mickey Leland -- someone who fought against racist oppression and who fought for justice not just in Texas, but worldwide,” Muhammad challenged.

Not that we're advocating the change...but there are plenty of Houstonians who marched to keep the monument, and even more who would leave the city's name just the way it is.  Just food for thought.