Confederate plaque in Capitol had to come down


Mounted during Civil Rights era, plaque distorted south’s, state’s true history


Thank goodness. The Children of the Confederacy Creed plaque is history.

The plaque was a monument to historical inaccuracy, asserting slavery was not the principal cause of the Civil War. It had no business hanging in the Texas Capitol, a placement that gave it an aura of official veneration, if not acceptance.

The State Preservation Board recently voted unanimously to remove the plaque. The vote took three minutes and lacked any historical reflection from members Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick or House Speaker Dennis Bonnen.

It is important to pause and reflect on what the plaque said. Rep. Eric Johnson, D-Dallas, has been especially outspoken and deserves recognition for bringing forth overdue change.

Mounted in 1959 by the Texas division of the Children of the Confederacy, the plaque asserts the Civil War “was not a rebellion, nor was its underlying cause to sustain slavery.”

Slavery was very much a primary reason for the Civil War and the South’s rebellion. It’s quite prominent in any number of historic documents. We quote from the 1861 Declaration of Causes, the historical document that outlines Texas’ case for secession.

Texas “was received as a commonwealth holding, maintaining and protecting the institution known as negro slavery — the servitude of the African to the white race within her limits — a relation that had existed from the first settlement of her wilderness by the white race, and which her people intended should exist in all future time. Her institutions and geographical position established the strongest ties between her and other slave-holding States of the confederacy.”

Here is another chilling passage from the Declaration of Causes:

“We hold as undeniable truths that the governments of the various States, and of the confederacy itself, were established exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable.”

The Confederacy and slavery are part of our history, and the only way to honor the past is to be honest in its retelling. The plaque, mounted during a surge of Confederate monuments in response to the civil rights era, intentionally distorted this record. Its presence was insulting and confounding. It had to come down. It should never have been put up. — San Antonio Express-News