Group Disregards History in Tirade Against Sam HoustonOpinion
A publicity stunt conducted on Facebook by a left wing group demands the statue of Sam Houston be removed from Hermann Park in Houston. “Antifa Anti-Oppression Rally. Texans demand the removal of the idol image of gross slave owner Sam Houston,” read a pinned post on the Texas Antifa Facebook page since May 22.
“These statues are a slap in the face of all Black Americans!” another post states.
Three weeks away. The racist alt-right don't have time to rally against us in significant numbers, which allows us to truly be heard. Texans all over want these idols removed!Posted by Texas Antifa on Monday, May 22, 2017
The scheduled June 10 protest rally comes days prior to the June 19 celebration of “Juneteenth.” Juneteenth celebrates the day Union General Gordon Granger landed on Galveston Island, on June 19, 1865, and proclaimed all slaves to be free and enforced Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation in Texas for the first time in the 2.5 years since the Executive Order was signed.
Juneteenth celebrations lingered from the late-1800s until the aftermath of the Civil Rights Movement, but were never officially recognized, until 1980 when the Texas Legislature designated June 19 as an official state holiday.
Today, Juneteenth is recognized across the nation, and the recognition of that day started in Texas.
The Sam Houston statue of the father of Texas sitting atop his horse Saracen was erected at the intersection of Montrose and Main Streets in Houston in 1925. Cast in bronze, it was designed by sculptor Enrico Filiberto Cerrachio (1880-1956). The statue was restored in 1996 by the Houston Municipal Art Commission, according to the Hermann Park Conservancy website.
If the group is successful in getting the Hermann Park statue removed, they promise to go after the huge Sam Houston statue seen off I-45 in Huntsville, home of Sam Houston State University. “After we have this one removed, we can then work on getting the 67-foot Sam Houston statue outside of Huntsville turned into parking lot gravel, and the forest renamed,” reads another post.
Above: The Statue of Sam Houston near Huntsville, Texas as seen from Interstate 45. (AmericanProfile.com)
The irony is that Sam Houston was pro-Union and generally opposed slavery leading up to the Civil War. As a U.S. Senator from Texas from 1846 – 1859, Houston was described as an “ardent Unionist.” He supported the Missouri Compromise of 1820, and voted to ban slavery in the new state of Oregon in 1848. He also genuflected to the principles of the American (Know-Nothing) Party, and was almost nominated to be that party’s U.S. presidential candidate for the 1860 election. He supported the Compromise of 1850. For his pro-Union, anti-slavery stances, Houston was defeated when he ran for Governor of Texas in 1857.
He won the governorship two years later, in 1859, and adamantly opposed secession. But the state seceded anyway in a special session of the Texas Legislature called The Sucession Convention. Afterwards, Governor Houston refused to take an oath of loyalty to the Confederate States of America. Another Texas convention removed him from office for that.
Channel 2 (NBC) in Houston reports there will be a counter-protest over the statue by open carry groups. Channel 2 quotes the vice president of Texas Open Carry David Amad, “Our event is to make sure they understand that one way or another that statue is not going anywhere.”