Texas lawmakers want to cancel public holiday commemorating Confederate veterans

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Calling the Confederate Heroes’ Day celebration a “permanent reminder” of a terrible past, Rep. Jarvis Johnson, a Democrat from Houston, on Wednesday called on Texas to stop celebrating it as a public holiday.

Confederate Heroes Day is celebrated on January 19th. The holiday commemorates Confederate President Jefferson Davis and General Robert E. Lee, as well as soldiers who died fighting against the Union during the Civil War. In Texas, Davis and Lee’s birthdays used to be celebrated separately, but in 1973 they were combined on Confederate Heroes’ Day.

“When we talk about what Confederate Heroes Day is, it’s a memory of a terrible past,” Johnson, a black man, said at a press conference surrounded by other lawmakers. “A past that has irreparably damaged many Texas residents.”

Johnson’s bill to abolish Confederate Heroes’ Day is his third attempt; similar laws have not come out of committees in the last two legislative sessions. In 2019, the House State Committee, then chaired by current Speaker Dade Phelan, a Republican from Beaumont, did not bring Johnson’s bill to a vote.

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