Texas bill cancels Confederate Heroes Day

During a January 18 press conference, Democratic Houston State Representative Jarvis Johnson, surrounded by other lawmakers, announced his third attempt to end Texas Confederate Heroes Day. In the last two legislative sessions, Johnson has unsuccessfully passed similar laws.

Falling annually on January 19, this day commemorates Confederate President Jefferson Davis and General Robert E. Lee, neither of whom was from Texas, as well as local soldiers who served in the Civil War on the Confederate side. According to Texas Tribunethe celebration was merged in 1973, combining what had previously been two separate birthday celebrations for Davis and Lee.

“We cannot stand by as our state continues to officially celebrate and celebrate the men who believed so deeply that black men and women had no rights that they would go to war,” Johnson said.

Cristina Morales, a Houston Democrat and vice chair of the Mexican-American Legislature, commented on the importance of teaching history to children so that they “grow up knowing that the Confederacy does not uphold the values ​​of freedom that we continue to fight for.” Today.”

While similar wakes are still held in the other seven southern states, most are celebrated between April and June, but in Texas, Confederate Heroes Day often falls close to or on the same day as Martin Luther King Jr. Day. which is celebrated on the third Monday of January.

In the report Texas Monthly in 2020, Johnson spoke about Confederate memorials and Confederate Heroes Day in the wake of the George Floyd and Tamir Rice protests. “These images and words give some people the courage and even the courage to do what they do to people of color because it gives them courage,” Johnson said. “A hero is someone who has done something noble. There are no heroes in the Confederacy.

Johnson also responded to legacy arguments that have been used in the past to oppose the abolition of the commemoration. In 2019, according to TribuneThe descendants of Confederate veterans opposed the law. Johnson, who is black, said he himself is a descendant of a Confederate soldier, a white slave owner who raped his black slave, Johnson’s great-great-grandmother.

“Never in my life, in the lives of my children, will I ever celebrate this part of my history,” Johnson said. “There is no point in glorifying a person who has harmed and harmed others.”

In 2020, the state of Virginia canceled its Confederate holiday, and Johnson is hopeful the bill will succeed. He believes that every time a bill is submitted, it gains traction with the public.

“I believe that through perseverance and perseverance, we can achieve this,” he said.

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