Speaker Joe Straus Calls For Removal Of Confederate Plaque From Capitol

Sep 19, 2017

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus is calling for a plaque honoring the Confederacy in the state Capitol to come down.

In a letter to the State Preservation Board, the San Antonio Republican called the plaque, which denies the primary role of slavery in the Civil War, “blatantly inaccurate.”

“It is important that the historical information displayed on the Capitol grounds is accurate and appropriate,” he wrote.

Straus sits on the preservation board, which oversees historical monuments at the Capitol. In his letter, he urged fellow board members, including the governor and lieutenant governor, to identify steps necessary to remove the marker as soon as possible.

Photos: Confederate Symbols In Austin

His letter also asks the board to study the historical accuracy and context of other symbols at the Capitol.

“We have an obligation to all the people we serve to ensure that our history is described correctly, especially when it comes to a subject as painful as slavery,” he wrote, adding that some of the language that explains and describes other monuments may also need updating.

Straus is the state’s most prominent Republican and highest-ranking lawmaker to question the place of the such monuments on public grounds.

His letter follows a call from Dallas Rep. Eric Johnson, who last month asked the board to remove the plaque, which hangs just outside his first-floor office.

Opposition to state-sanctioned monuments honoring the Confederacy has grown nationwide after protests over the removal of a statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee in Charlottesville, Va., turned deadly. Last week, the city of Dallas took down a statue of Lee from a park; and last month UT-Austin removed three Confederate statues from public view on campus.

The plaque in the Capitol was placed by an act of the Legislature in 1959, so lawmaker approval may be required for its removal.