A report issued last week by a group studying the issue of Confederate monuments says Texas should rename its capital city — Austin, Texas.
The report issued by Austin’s Equity Office says that the capital city should be renamed because of Stephen F. Austin’s ties to slavery. The report also suggests renaming a number of the city’s streets, markers, and parks that are named in honor of Confederate heroes, the Austin American-Statesman reported.
The report states that Austin must change its name because Stephen F. Austin opposed Mexico’s attempt to ban slavery in the country’s province of Tejas. Austin said that if slaves were freed, they would become “vagabonds, a nuisance, and a menace,” the report states.
The report issued by the City of Austin’s Equity Office also called for renaming “Pease Park, the Bouldin Creek neighborhood, Barton Springs, and ten streets named for William Barton who is referred to as the “Daniel Boone of Texas,” who was a slave owner.
The report also called for renaming the following streets:
- Littlefield Street
- Tom Green Street
- Sneed Cove
- Reagan Hill Drive
- Dixie Drive
- Confederate Avenue
- Plantation Road
The city has previously renamed other streets in April over the Confederate heroes issue. Robert E. Lee Road was renamed to Azie Morton Road. Jeff Davis Avenue was also renamed to William Holland Avenue.
While the city’s Equity Office website was not available on Sunday, Google listings for the site provide the following excerpt:
Austin has a long history of systemic racism and racial inequity that continues today. Throughout history, communities of color have been excluded, marginalized …
Furthermore, the Equity Office seeks the removal of several historical markers that relate to the Confederacy. Those removals would require approval from the Texas Historical Association.
Changing the name of the City of Austin would require voter approval as it would force a change in the city’s charter.
The report asks the question, “What’s next and where do we stop?”
The Austin Equity Office then concludes:
It is essential to acknowledge that societal values are fluid, and they can be and are different today compared to when our city made decisions to name and/or place these Confederate symbols in our community.
It is also important to acknowledge that nearly all monuments to the Confederacy and its leaders were erected without a true democratic process. People of color often had no voice and no opportunity to raise concerns about the city’s decision to honor Confederate leaders.