A letter from the publisher:
A press release sent out by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner’s office on Thursday had me stop the printing of our newspaper after learning what the Black man leading this city has decided to do — and on Juneteenth, to add insult to injury. While organizations across the nation are REMOVING, and even vandalizing, racist statues, Mayor Turner has decided to remove two in Houston – but is relocating one of them to our beloved African American museum?
I have never said anything publicly against him, but has Mayor Turner lost his damn mind?
That’s a double insult. He has renamed the street, but has taken the statue and put it in a black museum. The black museum should not accept this statue and the Houston Endowment should not put any money behind this.
This negro is playing politics with White folks against Black folks. This is an insult to me personally, and to all the Black folks, how a Black leader can do this to us. And to do it on Juneteenth? What in the hell is he thinking?
The Spirit of The Confederacy in Sam Houston Park downtown will now be displayed at the Houston Museum of African American Culture in the Museum District. According to a statement from John Guess, HMACC CEO Emeritus, placing the statues in the museum will help discuss the “difficult conversations” about race and culture.
When will black people learn, you don’t have to “host” the enemy to understand he exists? Another “turn the other cheek” reasoning that keeps others with a “foot on our neck.”
I have read it and read it trying to get logic behind the move. We have cops killing our asses behind the ideologies of what those statues represent. What Uncle Tom, handkerchief wearing negroes were on this committee? Jesse H. Jones would come out of his grave to know that the Houston Endowment would do something like this.
Who is running this city making these kinds of decisions? The only truly Black mayor that I know of who has empowered Black people was the late Maynard Jackson of Atlanta. Houston has been checkmating Black folks and ‘keeping us in our place’ ever since the Camp Logan riots. What if a White mayor did this, wouldn’t we be pissed? Those statues should be destroyed and not preserved. Protest that!
The following press release was proudly sent out by the Mayor’s Office, so tell us, are we missing something here?
Mayor Sylvester Turner announced the City of Houston plans to relocate the Dowling and Spirit of Confederacy statues, which are currently both located in two City of Houston parks.
The statues will be removed by Friday, June 19, in commemoration of the Juneteenth holiday, which memorializes the day slaves in Texas learned the Emancipation Proclamation granted their freedom.
In August 2017, Mayor Sylvester Turner appointed a task force of historians, community leaders, and department directors to review the City’s inventory of items related to the confederacy and recommend appropriate action.
The task force recommended that the statues be removed from Houston public property and not be destroyed. (Click the links for the final report and final appendix).
After the task force submitted its findings, the City began working on a plan with partner organizations and funders to identify new locations to place the statues permanently.
The two relevant statues in local public parks will be relocated, at no public expense, to separate sites that provide greater historical context for public viewing.
The Houston Endowment has provided a grant to transfer the Spirit of The Confederacy in Sam Houston Park downtown to be displayed at the Houston Museum of African American Culture in the Museum District.
A statue of Richard W. “Dick” Dowling in Hermann Park is expected to be moved to a permanent display at the Sabine Pass Battleground State Historic Site in Port Arthur, TX. The Executive Committee of the Texas Historical Commission voted to accept the statute and the full Commission will consider the item at its quarterly meeting on June 17.
“While we have been working on a plan for some time, I have decided to move forward now considering the events of the past several weeks,” Mayor Turner said. “Our plan for relocating confederate statues from public parks to locations more relevant to modern times preserves history and provides an opportunity for our city to heal.”
“Houston Endowment is proud to support the relocation of the Spirit of the Confederacy to the Houston Museum of African American Culture, where it can be interpreted in a way that promotes an inclusive and anti-racist community,” said Ann Stern, President and CEO.
“This is a huge step forward in the Museum’s history of hosting difficult conversations, underscoring our multicultural conversation on race geared toward a common future. We have an opportunity to learn from our history, the good and the bad, to truly forge one nation,” said John Guess, HMACC CEO Emeritus.
The City of Houston’s General Services Department (GSD) will begin relocating the statues next week. The City will place them in temporary storage until the partner organizations are ready to receive the delivery.
“I’m grateful for the City of Houston Confederate Items Task Force’s guidance and the generosity of the Houston Endowment for their crucial roles in the plan,” Turner added. “And I’m proud of how this plan formed with input from many sectors of the city and deep consideration of all sensitive factors involved.”