Shaw, Treviño Criticize Bill to Stop Removal of Confederate Monuments

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The Confederate monument raises 40 feet above the ground and is centered directly in the middle of Travis Park in downtown San Antonio.

Scott Ball / Rivard Report

A Confederate monument stood 40 feet tall in the center of Travis Park in downtown San Antonio in August 2017.

As two City Council members seek to relocate the Confederate monument in downtown’s Travis Park, a State Senate bill filed during the Legislature’s special session seeks to bar local governments from removing or altering certain monuments and memorials on public property.

State Sen. Brandon Creighton (R-Conroe) filed Senate Bill 112, which would keep memorials and other historic designations, such as building names, that have been in place for at least 40 years from being removed or altered. Filed Monday, the bill defines protected monuments as “a permanent monument, memorial, or other designation … that is located on state property; and honors an event or person of historic significance.”

On Thursday, Councilmen Roberto Treviño (D1) and William “Cruz” Shaw (D2), who together filed a council consideration request on Monday to explore the possibility of relocating the Confederate monument, denounced SB112 as seeking to undermine local government.

“SB 112 is yet another attempt by officials at the State level to weaken local government entities across Texas,” Treviño stated. “Furthermore, each city and town in Texas is not only unique demographically, but historically. It is foolish to think that this callous and heavy-handed approach is in the best interest of our diverse and growing population.”

Shaw, who was elected in June, pledged during his campaign that he would get the memorial relocated. He criticized the bill for being too broad.

“One size does not fit all in situations such as this,” Shaw stated. “San Antonio’s municipal government should not be undermined by State officials, especially those who do not have the fortune of living in our great, inclusive city. SB 112 is not seeking to preserve history, but rather to strip municipalities of their voices in how history is displayed.”

The Travis Park monument erected in 1899 is inscribed with a tribute to “Our Confederate Dead.” An unnamed Confederate soldier stands atop a stone obelisk with the names of Confederate soldiers carved around its base.

The councilmen want to find a more appropriate location to house the memorial, where its historical value may be preserved and integrated in an educational context. An alternative site for the monument has not yet been proposed by either of the councilmen, but Treviño has said that there are parties interested in providing a place for it should it be moved.

Controversies over removing monuments to the Civil War and the Confederacy have simmered since the shooting of nine black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina, by an admitted white supremacist in June 2015. After the shooting, South Carolina’s general assembly voted to remove the Confederate battle flag from the State Capitol grounds, and the last of four Confederate statues in New Orleans was removed in May.

One confederate monument in Austin was removed in August 2015. A statue of Jefferson Davis, previously located on the University of Texas campus, was removed and taken to the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, which is located on another part of the campus.

A protest of the potential removal of the Travis Park monument organized by This Is Texas Freedom Force is scheduled for Aug. 12. A counter-protest, organized by SATX4, will be held the same day.

11 thoughts on “Shaw, Treviño Criticize Bill to Stop Removal of Confederate Monuments

  1. Please sign the petition to stop removal of historic Confederate monuments in Dallas. We need your help!

    Go to change.org and search Dallas confederate

    • STOP trying to change history. Leave the monuments up. STOP going against the will of the majority. It is a total waste in Dallas. TEXAS where they could use all that money for a good purpose. Do they think this is going to help race relations it’s only going to make them worse! I am so sick of this slavery BS go on with life and get over it! No one alive owned slaves or was a slave. This is decisive because white men are getting blamed for everything, we will only take so much before we push back!

  2. From your story, SB 112 would appear to apply only to monuments that are located on state property. Is Travis Park state property? If so, how did that happen?

      • Jeffrey,

        The quote from the bill in paragraph 2 of your story clearly says “state property”. It seems to me that the legislature has a perfect right to regulate what happens on state property, but not on city or county property. So which is it?

        Lonn Taylor,

        Fort Davis, Texas

  3. Overlooking temporarily the Confederate soldier atop the monument – it’s actually a gorgeous, stately piece of public art – a centerpiece of the $20 million restoration job just completed last year in Travis Park.
    There is a simple, elegant solution to all this – set up a city/ nationwide sculpture competition to see who can design a symbolic, significant memorial honoring ALL the Civil War dead by incorporating a Black soldier, a Union soldier and a female volunteer/nurse at the base of the monument. Could be a very effective and inspiring solution to a problematic issue.

  4. These statues absolutely should be removed. Furthermore, I hope William Shaw and Roberto Treviño willy apply the same logic to call for the removal of FDR’s bust from its prominent position in front of City Hall considering the massive harm he inflicted on thousands of Americans by uprooting them from their homes and into prison camps based on nothing but their race– let alone how much his Wilson-influenced progressive economic policies wreaked havoc on vulnerable minority communities.

  5. So what pray tell do y’all want to put in its place ? A statute of Bruce Jenner mayby, or another rainbow colored crosswalk ? All you are doing is rewriting history, you are trying to white wash it, believe me i know that slavery and discrimination were/are was/is bad, i too was a victim of discimination as a child, but i did not let that define me as an induvidual, i used that to raise above it, and i dont hold it against anyone or any one race. If you think removing a pieceof history is gonna make you fell better or magicallymake the country a better place then you should start looking at them removing the pyramids in Egypt, Mexico and the Great Wall of China to name a few because i can bet you that they weren’t done out if free will and love

  6. I’m incredibly disappointed that Council has not steered any of the current conversation towards (re-)removing the two Confederate cannons from Travis Park — which were not in the park from approximately 2011 to 2014 (based on Google streetview imagery and descriptions of the cannons being placed in City storage).

    According to the City’s history of Travis Park, the Confederate cannons were abandoned at the Battle of Valverde (in New Mexico — along the Camino Real as part of the Confederate / Sibley campaign for California) and retrieved by Confederate Major Trevanion T. Teel after the war and donated to the City. The cannons were parked in Travis Park in the late 1800s (close to thirty years after the Civil War ended and apparently considered controversial at the time — the ‘scoff of a later generation’) and have been moved around to various points within the park over the years as mobile weaponry.

    The Confederate cannons do not serve to memorialize the Civil War dead and should not have been reintroduced in Travis Park as part of recent City of San Antonio ‘revitalization’ of the park — work supported, in part, by Southwest Airlines and the St Anthony Hotel (part of Marriott International Inc.).

    The cannons should be returned to the battlefield where they were used and abandoned by the Confederates in their retreat back to San Antonio; Fort Craig, New Mexico (Socorro County) National Park Service would likely be the best recipient. At Fort Craig, the cannons could help to serve as a reminder of how the Confederacy was defeated in New Mexico in 1862, including as aided by the ‘mostly Hispanic 1st New Mexico Volunteers commanded by Colonel Kit Carson’.

    See:

    Walking Tour of Historic Travis Park (City of San Antonio)
    https://www.sanantonio.gov/portals/0/Files/HistoricPreservation/TravisParkWalkingTour-OHP.pdf

    VALVERDE, BATTLE OF
    https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/qev01

    Fort Craig National Historic Site (National Park Service)
    https://www.nps.gov/nr/travel/el_camino_real_de_tierra_adentro/Fort_Craig.html

  7. Bill clearly says state property:

    (a) In this section, “monument or memorial” means a
    permanent monument, memorial, or other designation, including a
    statue, portrait, plaque, seal, symbol, building name, bridge name,
    park name, area name, or street name, that:
    (1) is located on state property; and
    (2) honors an event or person of historic significance

  8. Bill clearly says state property, not public property:

    (a) In this section, “monument or memorial” means a
    permanent monument, memorial, or other designation, including a
    statue, portrait, plaque, seal, symbol, building name, bridge name,
    park name, area name, or street name, that:
    (1) is located on state property; and
    (2) honors an event or person of historic significance

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