Prominently displayed and probably the largest monument on the Texas Capitol Grounds is a misleading and historically inaccurate monument to the Confederacy. The Confederate Soldiers (or Dead) Monument was erected in 1903 and unveiled by S.W.T. Lanham, the last of the Confederate Governors. The monument is topped by a statue of Jefferson Davis – honoring a clear traitor to his country. The inscription on the west side of the monument can only be described as pure revisionist history – white supremacist bullshit.
Died for state rights guaranteed under the Constitution. The people of the South, animated by the spirit of 1776, to preserve their rights, withdrew from the federal compact in 1861. The North resorted to coercion. The South, against overwhelming numbers and resources, fought until exhausted.
Curiously, there is no explanation of how taking up arms and attacking your own country (ahem – Fort Sumter – which seems to always be conveniently forgotten by latter day Rebel sycophants) is somehow part of “states rights” – the code word for slavery and later segregation, voter suppression and Jim Crow laws. And the whole thing ignores the Texas Ordinance of Succession – one of the vilest, most racist screeds ever written – which leaves no doubt that Texas seceded to preserve slavery and subjugation of African-Americans.
Red doesn’t necessarily fault the average Rebel soldier who likely was looking for an adventure and a payday and was very likely misled into believing in a cause on the wrong side of history and didn’t really have a dog in the fight. But it is past time to clear the Texas Capitol Grounds of these vestiges of honoring American traitors such as Jeff Davis and his racist and un-American ilk.
The Texas Capitol Building prominently features a plaque honoring the Confederacy and proclaiming that the Civil War was not a rebellion and not about slavery. As Red has pointed out several times, all one need do is read the Texas Ordinance of Secession – a vile racist screed – to determine that the only reason Texas seceded was to protect its white citizens’ ability to own black slaves. And a lot of folks sure got killed in the non-rebellion that was the U.S. Civil War.
Red and others wonder why this disgusting piece of utter racist bullshit and revisionist history still has a place anywhere in the public space in Texas. Apparently former speaker Joe Strauss and incoming boss Dennis Bonnen both agree it should go. The hold up is likely our Poor Idiot Governor Abbott who is terrified of doing anything that might affect his right wing bona fides. The Texas Tribune has the full story.
From the Annals of the Statehouse – In 1882, Nimrod Norton and Joseph Lee ceremonially broke ground on the site of the present Texas Capitol Building. Norton and Lee were the building commissioners in charge of overseeing construction. A design competition resulted in eight architects submitting eleven different designs for the building. In May 1881 the Capitol Board approved the design entered by Elijah E. Meyers of Detroit. The building commission then advertised for a contractor who would build the Capitol in exchange for the three million acres of public land. There were only two bidders and the BC chose Mathias Schnell of Rock Island, Illinois. Schnell ultimately assigned the contract to Taylor, Babcock and Company, a Chicago firm. Abner Taylor became the chief contractor but subcontracted the work to Gustav Wilke also of Chicago. The Capitol was intended to be constructed from Texas limestone but impurities in the rock made it impractical. The design was changed – made less ornate – and the main building material was changed to red granite from Marble Mountain near Marble Falls. The Renaissance Revival structure was completed in about six years for a cost of $3.75 million.
From the Annals of Granite – In 1882, building commissioners Nimrod Norton and Joseph Lee dug the ceremonial first hole for the Texas Capitol. The cost of construction was financed by the sale of three million acres of public land in the Panhandle – which became the famed XIT Ranch. The Capitol was built from red granite from Marble Mountain near Marble Falls. The Nations Capitol was the model for the Renaissance Revival structure. Construction took over six years and cost approximately $3.75 million. The Capitol was the tallest building in Texas until the building of the San Jacinto Monument.