Bexar County Orders Removal of Confederate Plaques

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The Vance House marker at the former Federal Reserve Bank building, now owned by Bexar County. Photo by Scott Ball.

The Vance House marker at the former Federal Reserve Bank building, now owned by Bexar County. Photo by Scott Ball.

The Bexar County Commissioners Court voted on Tuesday to remove two Confederate markers from Bexar County grounds.

Both of the markers have Confederate flag emblems, one of which commemorates the Vance House where Confederate General Robert E. Lee was often a guest and the other, comprised of two plaques, tributes the Jefferson Davis Memorial Highway. Davis was the president of the Confederate States of America during the Civil War.

The two historical markers will be replaced by new markers, one that remembers the nine governments of Bexar County and another that will commemorate Ricardo Rodriguez, a Mexican immigrant who was granted citizenship in Texas.

During the Commissioners Court meeting dozens of people spoke for and against the removal of the markers, citing their personal opinions and histories. Some said the removal would disregard the nation’s history, while others said upholding the markers would further generate hate and division among the community.

“We are simply not going to glorify a symbol that to many people is a symbol of fear and a symbol of hate,”Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff said.

Wolff said the county will take down a symbol – the Confederate battle flag – that has struck fear in the heart of so many people.

Commissioner Tommy Calvert (Pct. 4) held a press conference at Travis Park on Saturday to support the removal of a Confederate statue in park’s center. Along with that statue, Calvert wants other Confederate monuments on public land to be removed and placed in museums.

“We must look at how slavery ripped our nation apart we must not look up and glorify these symbols that divide race and nation,” Calvert said Tuesday. Instead, he wants the “lessons of history (put) in their proper context” in a museum with the Declaration of Succession to the Confederacy underneath each historical marker.

“It’s never too late to do the right thing,” he said.

The top of the Confederate monument statue at Travis Park. Photo by Joan Vinson.

The top of the Confederate monument statue at Travis Park. Photo by Joan Vinson.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) San Antonio Branch Executive Committee member William Johnson said he was pleased to hear people talking about race in “such a civil manner” during the Commissioners Court meeting.

“There was a time when my ancestors were enslaved, imagine that. Being enslaved. We’re not just talking about jail for a few week, we’re talking a lifetime, generation after generation,” he said. “And for me, any relic that represents that (history) … needs to removed from among us, particularly on public soil. Public soil is paid for by all of us.”

Others, some of whom wore red shirts and held Confederate flags, said removing the markers would erase the past and allow history to repeat itself.

Hood’s Texas Brigade Association Commander William Smith said the Confederate markers represent United States veterans and are not symbols of racism or hate.

“If we do not teach the history to our young, they are bound to repeat it,” he said.

Commissioner Kevin Wolff (Pct. 3) said the Civil War, which was “brother against brother” was different than any other war. He said although he supports the removal of the marker, he does not support forgetting veterans.

“I do not want to forget that there are veterans on both sides on that war and they were all brothers of each other as we are today,” he said.

Felix Almaraz, a member of the Bexar County Historical Commission committee that studies historical markers said the haste to removal all symbols is comparable to trying to sanitize history.

“They remove the symbols and what’s next, books? They don’t like what is written in the books so they burn books,” he said. “It’s a very thin line but it’s easy to cross and that is what bothers me.”

Councilmember Alan Warrick II (D2) sent a letter to Mayor Ivy Taylor earlier this month requesting that a task force be formed to review the Confederate monuments and flags located in public places throughout the city. Mayor Taylor responded, noting that removing Confederate symbols will not solve the underlying cause of racism, that City staff has been directed to “identify any monuments connected with Confederate history or symbolism” and produce a report for her review and consideration of “opportunities for expanding interpretation at these sites.”

 

*Featured/top image: The Vance House marker at the former Federal Reserve Bank building, now owned by Bexar County. Photo by Scott Ball.

Related Stories:

Leaders Call for Removal of Confederate Monument at Travis Park

Confederate Symbols to be Removed From County Buildings, City May Follow

Robert E. Lee: Why No School Should Bear His Name

Dixie Flag to Stop Selling Confederate Flags

22 thoughts on “Bexar County Orders Removal of Confederate Plaques

    • Mary, I feel certain they’re referring to the Thomas Maxey decision in the late 19th century, In re Ricardo Rodriguez. It’s a landmark case and worth a review.

  1. So, no mention what so ever of the Vance House that one stood there, the controversy involved with its demolition nor any notable people that once walked it halls?

    Good grief, we’re far beyond removing a confederate flag from public property… or part of the plague. Are we not even going to acknowledge that Lee was ever stationed in area?

    Have we become so delicate?

    • Twisted history books are the greater evil. History is usually rewritten by the winners, not in Texas.

  2. The current county judge and many commissioners have been in office for several years. Why do the plaques suddenly bother them now? This is an example of politicians seizing on a popular issue solely for self promotion.

    • Vote them all out people or America will be changed for ever and our history erased and sanitized. We learn from the past to not repeat in the future.. This is a disgrace and we have idiots running things who are ruining this nation with political correctness or bowing to a few who wish to destroy America. God help us I pray.

  3. I still think this is a big mistake. They could have installed new public information stands at much less expense and reached more people. Something like:

    “This plaque is typical of monuments that were installed throughout most of the former Confederate States during the 1950s in response to increasing integration on a national level, in particular the Supreme Court decision to desegregate schools in 1954. Installed in 1956 and bearing the Army of Northern Virginia Battle Flag and the Third National Battle Flag, the plaques were meant to reinforce the idea that the leaders of the Confederacy should be honored as heroes and to comfort the then dominant power structure during a period of social change, when in fact they caused hundreds of thousands of deaths and economic ruin to an entire region in a failed attempt to maintain slavery and the idea that some humans are “naturally” inferior to others and the power structure current in the 1950s perpetuated this inequality that remains even now for some people almost 60 years later in 2015 when this information plaque was installed.”

  4. The removal of these markers and what they will be replaced with can only lead to mare hate than the confederate markers! I had a special place for San Antonio in my heart as I lived three years at Lackland AFB. San Antonio has become a stain on the field of honor that Texas was!

  5. what divides people by race is the federal government and the race pimps who have been around for over 100 years, keeping tensions high between all people. Though many of these people are sincere, their acts are still wrong and stem from their ignorance of history. They believe the marxist myths the politically correct use to divide people and stir up trouble. Lies are the stock and trade of the pc crowd. Wake up, America! They are coming after the churches next!

  6. Well another bunch of whimps caves to PC. Just another city not to visit on my bucket list. Thank goodness I have old history books to share with my children and grandchildren so they’ll know the truth. Maybe we should start tearing down plaques and statues that represent other organizations or groups….maybe the NAACP won’t mind if we take down Martin Luther King’s statue….

  7. I’m a very big history buff, have a Facebook page on the Civil War in Texas that keeps growing. https://www.facebook.com/groups/301572343299782/ I’ve made it clear to everyone that we are here to share the stories, and if they have any comments about this issue, to make them where they count – their legislators. I hope all of you will do the same. While Rivard Report is an excellent resource, and a favorite of mine, comments on here will get you nowhere. WRITE YOUR LOCAL, STATE, and FEDERAL LEGISLATORS.
    Thanks Bob!

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