Will Austin, Texas Get a New Name?
A Local Report on Confederate Monuments Suggests Renaming City
Stephen F. Austin, known also as the “father of Texas” is often credited with carving out the early outlines of Texas, so perhaps it is apt that the capital of the Lone Star state is named after him.
Except, hold that thought.
Or at least that’s what Austin’s Equity Office wants you to do after a report by the office about existing Confederate monuments pointed out that Austin (the person) was a staunch supporter of slavery and what the Confederacy stood for.
For example, as CNN notes, Austin “fought to defend slavery in spite of Mexico’s effort to ban it,” and also “believed slave labor indispensable for Texas to flourish.”
The icing on top of the cake: Austin “believed that if slaves were emancipated they would turn into ‘vagabonds, a nuisance and a menace,’” and apparently sought to make sure slave owners were compensated if their slaves were freed.
The report, which was released last week included the city’s name in a list of city assets considered “not explicitly Confederate and/or Civil War related but were within the spirit of the resolution representing segregation, racism, and/or slavery.”
“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,” the report noted. “People of color often had no voice and no opportunity to raise concerns about the City’s decision to honor Confederate leaders. This process not only calls attention to remediating symbols of the Confederacy in our City, but creates a new opportunity for us to rename these symbols in order to commemorate the current values and legacy of those we choose to honor in our community’s public spaces.”