Group urges city to remove confederate statue

A group urged Houston city council members to remove a confederate statue from Sam Houston Park.

HOUSTON -- A group urged Houston city council members to remove a confederate statue from Sam Houston Park Tuesday.

The “Spirit of the Confederacy” depicts bronzed angel leaning on a sword.

“It’s a celebration of Jim Crow, of segregation and of just a lot of terrible things,” said Matthew Derwinski, who wants the statue removed.

If people behind an online petition get their way, the monument is on its last leg.

“I see hate,” said Ashton Woods, leader of the Houston Black Lives Matter movement. “I see the 'N' word spray-painted across it.”

About a dozen people spoke to Houston’s city council asking for the century-old statue, erected by the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC), taken down. Neither council nor the mayor took such action.

Related: Gettysburg park officials: Confederate monuments here to stay

“History has its good,” said Mayor Sylvester Turner. “History has its bad, but I do think it’s important for us to review our inventory and make the appropriate decision.”

“If we took that (statue) down, would you then want (the) General Sam Houston (statue in Hermann Park removed) next?” Councilman Jack Christie asked during the meeting.

Current UDC members politely declined interview requests. However, they told KHOU 11 News their monument stands only to honor ancestors who died in battle, whose bodies never came home. Sons of the Confederacy told KHOU 11 News they too are “disheartened” and wonder what other statues will be next.

Related: 'No racism' allowed at Austin Confederate rally scheduled for Sept. 2

Native Houstonian-turned-East Texas House Representative James White urged caution. Though he knows little about the statue in question, his great-great-great-great-great grandfather, a black man, served in the Confederate army.

“I think our country should honor veterans, all of our veterans,” White said via phone. “Why would I honor the service of this relative and denigrate the service of another veteran in my family?”

“At the end of the day, it’s a simple question of whether or not you believe we should celebrate things like oppression and slavery,” said Melanie Pang, who wants the statue removed.

The Houston Young Communist’s petition had more than 1,000 signatures Tuesday night. However, those who control the statue’s fate need to see more.

© 2017 KHOU-TV


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