Confederate Symbols

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Despite momentum earlier this year to rid Austin Independent School District properties of links to the Confederacy, the district's Board of Trustees is facing pushback over proposed new names.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

The Austin Independent School District’s Board of Trustees is scheduled to vote Oct. 22 on the proposed new names for four AISD buildings named for Confederate figures.

After a long dispute about whether the buildings commemorated the state’s struggle with racism and inequity, the board voted 7-2 in February to change the names. The buildings to be renamed are Eastside Memorial, Lanier and Reagan high schools, The Allan Center, and Fulmore Middle School.

Gabriel C. Pérez / KUT

Five Austin Independent School District schools named for Confederate figures will get renamed this semester.

The Austin ISD Board of Trustees voted in February to rename the John T. Allan Facility, Zachary Taylor Fulmore Middle School, Sidney Lanier Early College High School, John H. Reagan Early College High School and Eastside Memorial Early College High School at the Johnston Campus (named for Albert Sidney Johnston).

Van Turner has a secret: He knows the whereabouts of the controversial Confederate statues removed last year from two parks in Memphis, Tenn.

"They have to be kept in a secretive location," said Turner on a recent afternoon, standing in a park overlooking the Mississippi River where one of the statues — of Confederate President Jefferson Davis — once stood. "For fear of someone trying to go in and get them."

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Austin’s Equity Office is recommending the city remove or change the names of streets, parks and markers in Austin that honor the Confederate States of America and slavery.

The office also suggests eschewing the name “Austin” altogether, as Stephen F. Austin fought to defend slavery in the Texas Revolution and supported the institution after the state gained its independence from Mexico.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

This post has been updated.

The Austin City Council voted unanimously Thursday to rename two streets that had been named for Confederate figures.

Robert E. Lee Road will become Azie Morton Road, after the Austin resident and first African-American U.S. treasurer. Jeff Davis Avenue will be renamed for William Holland, who was born into slavery and became a Travis County commissioner in the late 19th century. He was integral in establishing a school in Austin for disabled children of color.

Gabriel C. Pérez

Part 1 of a two-part series.

During the debate about renaming Austin schools, a recurring theme emerged: The problem isn’t just about schools being named for men who served in the Confederate military or government, but how schools teach about the Civil War and slavery.

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

The Austin Independent School District’s Board of Trustees voted Monday night to move forward with renaming five district buildings named for men who served in either the Confederate military or government.

Lanier, Reagan and Eastside Memorial high schools, Fulmore Middle School and the Allan Center will get new names.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. for KUT

The Austin Independent School District Board of Trustees will vote tonight on whether to change the names of five district facilities named after people who served in the Confederate military or government.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. for KUT News

The Austin Independent School District met with community members Thursday night to get feedback on whether to change the names of five district buildings. All five buildings were named for people connected to the Confederate military or government during the Civil War.

Jorge Sanhueza Lyon / KUT

The Austin Independent School District’s board of trustees is slowing down its timeline for a vote on whether to change the names of five schools named after Confederate figures.

John Jordan for The Texas Tribune

Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday isn't the only holiday this week for state employees in Texas. They can also take off Friday for a state holiday that has been a source of controversy: Confederate Heroes Day.

Miguel Gutierrez Jr. / KUT

Five Austin schools named after people involved with the Confederacy could get new names.

The Austin Independent School District's Board of Trustees will discuss changing the names tonight, although there won't be a vote taken at the meeting. 

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

A meeting between state Rep. Eric Johnson, D-Dallas, and Texas Gov. Greg Abbott over Confederate monuments on Capitol grounds ended with the governor expressing a desire to move forward with the removal of a controversial plaque from inside the Capitol, Johnson told The Texas Tribune.

Joy Diaz/Texas Standard

From Texas Standard:

The Confederate flag has sparked divisive feelings for more than 150 years. But you might peg the beginning of the most recent debate over its place in the U.S. to 2015. That’s when former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley decided to remove the flag from the state Capitol grounds. Her decision was part of a response to the killing of nine black churchgoers by a white supremacist in Charleston.

Haley’s decision unleashed protests.

Then came Charlottesville this summer, with deadly confrontations over a Confederate statute. Trying to avoid more protests, cities like Baltimore and institutions like the University of Texas at Austin decided to remove confederate symbols in the middle of the night

Jorge Sanhueza-Lyon / KUT

Texas House Speaker Joe Straus is calling for a plaque honoring the Confederacy in the state Capitol to come down.

In a letter to the State Preservation Board, the San Antonio Republican called the plaque, which denies the primary role of slavery in the Civil War, “blatantly inaccurate.”

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT

From Texas Standard:

After weeks of legal and logistical wrangling, a statue of Confederate leader Robert E. Lee that had been in Dallas' Oak Lawn neighborhood for 81 years, was removed Thursday night. Meanwhile, State Rep. Eric Johnson (D-Dallas) will meet with Gov. Greg Abbott to discuss removing or altering Confederate monuments and plaques on the Capitol grounds.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez / KUT

The Sons of Confederate Veterans sued the University of Texas at Austin on Thursday for removing several Confederate statues from its campus earlier this week.

UT-Austin spokesman J.B. Bird confirmed Thursday that the university had received the lawsuit by the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

Man Accused Of Trying To Destroy Confederate Monument In Houston

Aug 21, 2017
Houston Parks and Recreation Department

A 25-year-old man was taken into custody Monday for attempting to destroy the General Dowling Monument located in Hermann Park, according to the office of Acting U.S. Attorney Abe Martinez.

A complaint was filed in Houston federal court today charging Andrew Schneck. 

Matthew Prosser/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

From Texas Standard:

In the wake of the violence in Charlottesville, Va., Confederate monuments are coming down in public places across the country. Overnight, the University of Texas at Austin quietly dismantled four statues from the campus’ South Mall. But they're not going down everywhere.

Jorge Sanhueza Lyon / KUT

University of Texas at Austin has removed four statues on campus overnight, three of which memorialize Confederate figures, on the orders of university President Greg Fenves.

Gabriel Cristóver Pérez/KUT News`

From Texas Standard:

President Trump put himself back into the debate over Confederate monuments Thursday. In the wake of the violence in Charlottesville over the weekend, he tweeted in defense of the monuments, saying the country is “being ripped apart” with their removal.

Robin Jerstad/Texas Tribune

Gov. Greg Abbott on Wednesday weighed in on the renewed debate over Confederate monuments in Texas, saying that removing them "won't erase our nation's past, and it doesn't advance our nation's future." 

Charlotte Carpenter / KUT

Oliver Hill, 81, grew up in segregated San Antonio. He graduated in 1952 from the all-black Phillis Wheatley High School, named for the famous poet who was brought to America as a slave. When Robert E. Lee High School opened across town in 1958 honoring the Confederate general, Hill viewed the name as a deliberate reminder to black San Antonians that the city did not belong to them.

Charlotte Carpenter / KUT

Austin’s Robert E. Lee Elementary school has a new name: Russell Lee. The Austin School Board voted 8-1 to change the name Monday night. But for some school board members, the decision wasn't an easy one.


Charlotte Carpenter / KUT

Donald Trump, Harper Lee, and Spike Lee: Those are just a few of the famous names submitted to the Austin Independent School District as suggestions for the re-naming of Robert E. Lee Elementary.

Update Monday 3 p.m. The Lee Elementary Campus Advisory Council narrowed down the list to 8 names, according to a press release the district sent out Monday afternoon. The names on the list, which will be narrowed down to a final 3 by May 3, are: Barbara Smith Conrad, Bettie Mann (former Lee Elementary teacher of more than 35 years and first African American educator at the school), Elisabet Ney, Harper Lee, former AISD music director Kenneth Ragsdale, Russell Lee, Waller Creek and Wheeler's Grove. The final decision is still scheduled for May 23.