Confederate Monument Removed from Travis Park Overnight

Print Share on LinkedIn Comments More

Courtesy / Ben Olivo / Folo Media

A crane lowers the Travis Park statue of a Confederate soldier onto a truck for removal.

At 1 a.m. Friday police, media, and bystanders watched construction crews in Travis Park take down the Confederate monument and remove two cannons on orders from San Antonio City Council, which voted 10-1 Thursday afternoon to have the statue removed.

Cheers and jeers rang through a couple of downtown blocks as trucks and cranes slowly mobilized to dismantle and relocate the statue that most City Council members agreed was an out-of-context homage to a bygone era of black slavery. First, the cannons where removed, then crews prepared to take down the main obelisk.

Around 2 a.m., the statue was finally removed, according to media reports.

Dozens of police officers patrolled the fenced-off park. Streets surrounding the park were closed to vehicular and, in some cases, pedestrian traffic.

“We don’t anticipate [any violence], but we plan for the worse-case scenario,” San Antonio Police Chief William McManus told reporters. “And we don’t want to end up like Charlottesville.”

Protesters and supporters of the removal of the 40-foot tall monument, topped by a statue of a nameless Confederate soldier and bearing the inscription “Lest We Forget Our Confederate Dead,” lamented and praised the swift action that the City took to move the statue to a secure location. The new home for the Confederate statue will be considered with input from a community stakeholder group, then finalized by City staff.

Several Council members stopped by the park during the hours-long removal process to see their vote in action. Councilman Manny Pelaez (D8) was surprised that the monument was removed so soon after the vote.

“Nobody expected it – certainly I didn’t,” Pelaez said. “If anything, this is a testament to how efficient City staff is. Once they receive direction from City Council they move at lightning speed.”

This is the culmination of years of dialogue and hours of work, he said as trucks drove back and forth on adjacent streets. “Nobody should be surprised that [removal] happened swiftly.”

A truck carries equipment to and from Travis Park to assist in the removal of the Confederate monument.

Iris Dimmick / Rivard Report

A truck carries equipment to and from Travis Park to assist in the removal of the Confederate monument.

Speed is a precautionary measure, he said, as many people threatened prolonged protests over the monument’s removal. For Pelaez, “the threat of a recall did not calculate into my algebra that I was doing when I made the decision to vote for [removal]. …. I can tell you that none of the other Council members really considered that.”

Cliff Healey is a self-described “three percenter,” or a member of a paramilitary group that pledges armed resistance to attempts to restrict rights to guns and freedom of speech. Healey and his family are from Conroe, but happened to be in San Antonio on vacation when the state came down.

“Shouldn’t we teach our children about that [history]? It’s a public park,” Healey said, a handgun was visible in his front pocket. He does not want the statue to be put in a museum “where people would have to pay to see it.”

Vanessa Sanchez, a member of the local chapter of Our Revolution, joined in the impromptu debate outside the perimeter SAPD had set up around the park.

“You can teach slavery without having a monument in a public park,” Sanchez told Healey.

Two black SAPD officers watch truck roll by with equipment to remove the Confederate statues in Travis Park.

Iris Dimmick / Rivard Report

Two SAPD officers watch trucks roll by with equipment to remove the Confederate statue in Travis Park.

“We are supposed to be an all-inclusive, peaceful city,” Sanchez told the Rivard Report afterward. “If there is a black child or Mexican or Native American child or anyone of color playing in the park where the Confederacy is literally on a pedestal, are we having a peaceful playtime? No.”

Another in-depth debate occurred later between Healey and Gylon Jackson, a black man in favor of the statue’s removal.

“That monument needs to go,” Jackson said.

Though heated at times, the conversations did not escalate into violence.

Others, including The Texan II bartender Chris Muñoz, didn’t have a strong opinion about the statue.

“I never even knew it was a Confederate statue,” Muñoz said, echoing the comments of several people the Rivard Report ran into on streets near Travis Park. Most, however, were well aware of the downtown controversy.

Patrons outside the Texas II bar laugh and converse while officials prepare to take down the Confederate monument.

Iris Dimmick / Rivard Report

Patrons outside the Texan II bar converse as officials prepare to take down the Confederate monument.

 

The people that are talking about it at the bar, Muñoz said, think it has to do with William Barret “Buck” Travis, a lieutenant colonel in the Texas Army who died in the Battle of the Alamo.

McManus did not disclose how many officers were deployed to the scene, as is typical for security reasons, but he did say “we have enough to deal with a very, very large crowd.”

The size of the crowd was likely diminished due to the late-night removal.

“I’m beyond arguing about semantics about what the Confederacy stood for,” Johnathan-David Jones told City Council earlier that day. Jones is a member of SATX4, a group that pushed for the statue’s removal. Jones described being cursed by white nationalists during recent protests in the park. To him, the statue is a symbol of the racism that he experiences every day.

With a son on the way, Jones said Council has “the opportunity to place a direct hand” in determining what the landscape will look like for the next generation.

34 thoughts on “Confederate Monument Removed from Travis Park Overnight

  1. Step 1: remove monuments that justifiably offend our brothers and sisters of color.
    Step 2: replace with a monument to an outstanding leader in our communities of color.

  2. I don’t mean to state the obvious.. and maybe there is something at the park about Lt. Colonel William Barrett Travis, but it seems a logical replacement and perhaps one that should have been there all these years is… a similar sized statue commemorating Col Travis.

    • Absolutely. It’s a no-brainer that a park named after William Barret Travis should have some representation of him on it s grounds. Never understood why a Confederate statue was allowed there in the first place. So out of place. To put it in the simplest of terms, If you had a “Santa Claus Park” would it make much sense to erect a statue of the Easter Bunny on its grounds? Let the Bunny (the Confederates) get their own park.

    • Why should Travis’ life and deeds be commemorated? He was a slave owner and, according to various articles and comments here in The Rivard Report, the very war he fought – our own War of Independence – was nothing more than a ruse to perpetuate slavery.

      If the Confederate States of America stands condemned, then the Republic of Texas does, too. If Robert E. Lee was nothing more than a “white supremacist” in a fancy uniform, then William Barrett Travis was, too.

      Progressives should at least attempt to be consistent. Spread the scorn, sanctimoniously judge others based upon subjective standards and, by all means, sanitise history.

      Garl Boyd Latham

  3. I agree about having a statue of Travis in Travis Park of all places. I used to live in San Antonio and walked by Travis Park all the time and assumed for the longest time that the statue was of W.B. Travis. I think it was 3 or 4 years of living in San Antonio before I finally took a closer look at the statue. Most people assume it was a statue of Travis. I am not in favor of removing all Confederate statues (most – yes), but this one to me is the biggest no brainer of them all. Other than the fact that many soldiers and military leaders on both sides passed through San Antonio in the years before the Civil War, there is not much that connects San Antonio to that history.

  4. Seems to me the most logical place to move this statue is to the Confederate cemetery on the east side of town. After all, it is meant to commemorate “Our Confederate Dead.” What better place than where many confederates are buried?

  5. “We are supposed to be an all-inclusive, peaceful city,” said Vanessa Sanchez.

    That’s true, of course, with “inclusiveness” narrowly defined by special interest groups. Disagree and, suddenly, we’re bereft of peace.

    Ironic, isn’t it?

    Insofar as the City of San Antonio is concerned, it never fails to live down to all my expectations. It’s “leaders” decided to remove a monument honouring the bravery of those men who fought in a long-ago war – and did so by slinking into a public park under the cover of darkness.

    Ah, but its deeds have been recorded for posterity.

    Garl Boyd Latham

    • Can you elaborate on what you consider to be “narrowly defined special interest groups?” Are you referring to the many African American people in our city whose ancestors were slaves? That special interest group?

          • You’ll ask her?

            Interesting. What sort of documentation would you accept as proof of that presumed right?!

            Unless Sanchez claims the ability to speak for an entire super-demographic group (in this case, everyone who happens to be “of color”), then she’s either simply stating her personal opinion (which, in the context of her remark, she obviously does NOT believe she’s doing), or she’s attempting to voice the beliefs of a “special interest group.”

            In this case, that group may be defined as all those who are offended by our shared history.

            No matter what label you wish to use, however, it would not be “the many African American people in our city whose ancestors were slaves”…but I have a feeling you already knew that.

  6. Most logical place for the sculpture (represenative of the vanquished brothers, fathers and husbands of San Antonio/Military City USA) – – many whom were founders or lineal descendants of those who founded our city and the Republic of Texas — perhaps, is the Smitsonian National Museum of African American History & Culture.

  7. Protip: when a governmment has to carry out its actions under the cover of darkness to hide what it is doing from its people, it is never carrying out the consenting will of the governed. Disgusting. The statute was a simple remembrance to a conflict in our nation’s history more than a century and a half ago. A quoted person above refers to the park not being a place a peace is pure crap. Its the culture of victimhood and wanting to be appeased to every degree. The mayor bypassing all set rules to speed track this virtue signaling is another drastic overreach governance is another concern. You wont hear about that problem though. It’ll be swept under the rug of hypocrisy and the “tolerant Left” marches ever on in its censorship of real history to appease its voter base. Next up is the demolishment of the Alamo in the name of political correctness, because when the Mexicans banned slavery we revolted. Wonder how far out that story is?

    • Protip: Cities that have removed their monuments to the Confederacy from public spaces have received threats of violence. This action was carried out at night to reduce the chance of harm to the people doing their jobs. No one is saying that this statue should not exist, just that it should be placed in a museum or near the Confederate memorial cemetery, not in a park downtown named for someone who was dead before the Civil War even started.

  8. A roundabout story, but this reminds me of stories from a woman I worked for in Europe. We visited a place where her family had been held for political and ethnic reasons, a former concentration camp. The place is still open today as a reminder of the past. Though it was an emotional visit, she said that she would not change how things went for anything, that it made her who she is today.
    Civil War monuments mark a war where 620,000-850,000 (how, horrific) died some not even truly knowing why they fought. They mark a war where state vs. federal power was balanced out (tragically, the Southern economy, part of US economy depended on slave labor).
    The bloody war where we as a country decided that slavery would not stand anywhere in the nation is also commemorated in those statues. In the end, the Civil War is part of who we are today.
    Though the subject of the statue may be a southerner, who’s to say he was not wiser after the war? Was it worth it? Slave holders were also freed from something they must have known was wrong. We know that the great majority of southerners’ descendants are wiser post war and know that slavery and inequality is wrong.
    Instead of tearing a statue down, maybe energy would be better spent continuing strides toward equality in so many more important areas, like education to start with…. I guess we still have a ways to go for seven generations to have passed to get past Jim Crow, but let’s keep our eyes on the ball, people, or “eyes on the prize”.

    • Civil War battlefields have been preserved for the exact reasons you state, but this statue is a tribute to the oppressors. Maybe you should ask your European friend how she would feel if Germany started erecting statues of Adolf Hitler, or just regular Nazi soldiers, the way this memorial was erected several decades after the war.

      • You have no right to compare my ancestors to nazis. I’m sure your ancestors have some imperfections, i.e. George Custer, Phil Sheridan (the only good Indian is a dead Indian) William Techmseh Sherman, George Crook, Grant, etc. all union generals and murderers, butchers and thieves of Native American men, women, and children, but let’s judge only southerners for theirs, right? You seem to forget about the Hispanic confederates, the black confederates and Native American confederates that fought in that war also. I know that the taking down of these statues under the name of “slavery” is just a ruse to take down and condemn anything that has to do with white people. You don’t fool anyone with your hidden agenda BS. You are a bunch of sorry sanctimonious SOBS! HINT: Don’t forget about Confederate Colonel Thomas Frost the founder of the Frost Bank in San Antonio. Hell there’s a statue of him not a stones throw from Travis Park. Y’all better get to work on him next and also tear down the Bank building too!

        • I didn’t make the comparison, Bob. Also, it would probably benefit you to not make so many assumptions about people you disagree with, and their beliefs.

          • Luddite, you did make the Nazi comparison. Not many people are talking about who this statue is and his gesture. To me he looks like a Confederate soldier and he’s pointing to the sky. I see it as a memorial to those who died in the Civil War. Do you know how bloody a war that was?
            Lots of young men die caught up/drafted/forced to fight in wars they didn’t start, right or wrong. (PS there are memorials to German soldiers who died in WWII. There were surely artists, poets, bright hopeful young men who disagreed with Nazi ideology and tried to resist, see White Rose resistance).
            I’m actually concerned about our freedoms when there is such rigid idealogical intolerance and censorship that even reaches back a century. Extremes aren’t so great.
            Either way, the South was defeated and their lost lives and surely in many cases innocent lives and that of like Northern soldiers did result in progress for those who had been enslaved… and for the enslaver, believe it or not.
            I’m tempted to say that things are not always black and white. Though possible good intentioned, that’s extremism and easier for the young and for those who’ve grown bitter. Experience teaches that there are many points of view and things are more grey.
            Maybe you could keep your eyes on present injustices instead of censuring the expression of past generations. Maybe you could move to put a statue on the other side of the park about Emancipation/Freedom/Brotherhood/champions, etc..
            You know, people descended from African slave trade are not the only group of people who come from crazy oppression, slavery and genocide. If the statue is of an “Oppressor”, how long are you allowed to feel oppressed? And how does it help you to so strongly identify with being oppressed?

          • Maybe we should have just put a memorial up on the other side of the park to Journalism. We badly need it. Things sure get muddy and messy when we are driven by feelings and opinions , not truth and forget history or change it to suit our modern points of view.

  9. Wonderful news. Confederate statues have their place in museums, not on federal property. Statues are meant to honor, not just remember; today, we do not want to honor those who dedicated their lives to the primary cause of preserving and expanding racism, segregation, and slavery in our nation. So thank you, San Antonio leaders, for ceasing to unabashedly honor those who fought on the wrong side of history. We can appreciate their sacrifice, but we must temper that appreciation with the understanding that their primary mission was wrong and un-American. And so to provide that necessary tempering via context, museums are a much better place than public parks. And last but not least–there’s a big difference between keeping a statue of someone who fought for noble ends (e.g. the birth of our nation) but also did evil things (e.g. owned slaves), and keeping a statue of someone who fought for evil ends (e.g. the ability for white people to own slaves).

  10. the statue is still city property, and there is a process that has to be followed before the crooked city council and mayor can give it away to a private owner. which it has to be voted by ALL members of city council and the mayor, then move on to the county commissionars which they ALL have to agree, then to the STATE which at any time one person has questions and or disagress it starts the process all over again. and since it was a donation to the city the Daughters of the Confederacy can ask for it back.

  11. Die Statue ist noch Eigentum der Stadt, und es ist ein Prozess, der vor der krummen Stadtrat gefolgt werden und Bürgermeister kann give it away für einem privaten Eigentümer. die von allen Mitgliedern des Stadtrats und der Bürgermeister gewählt werden, dann fahren Sie mit der Grafschaft Commissionars welche sie alle zustimmen müssen, dann an den Staat, die zu jeder Zeit eine Person Fragen und oder Disagress hat es beginnt der Prozess erneut. und da war es eine Spende an die Stadt, die die Töchter der Konföderation zurück fordern können.

  12. Alex, who are you to say what statues are meant for? They are not just to honor. I can tell by your language and use of the word “context” and thinking that you’re young. “Noble” “Evil” “white people”.. p.s. “whites” are not a group (see history) and they aren’t the only people who held slaves and have also been enslaved/ indentured/oppressed. If you think 100 years ago, their “mission was wrong and un-American” Omg you are so wasting you’re time. I can’t believe you are spending your time on this “issue”. There are so, soooooo many things going on today that are happening and effecting everyones lives. There are so many things that could be changed that are “wrong and un-American”, things that really effect different demographics of U.S. and whole country today. Economic disparity, education, health and environment, water and food quality, gathering and use of information, net neutrality and flow of information, diplomacy and peace to prevent future war memorials and destruction, etc. Did you give up on the future or something? Good luck.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *