A leftist group calling themselves “Texas Antifa” have found a way to deal with their Selma envy – by taking down Houston’s statue of the city’s namesake.
The group is planning a June 10 rally at Hermann Park to demand removal of the city’s iconic statute of General Sam Houston, who led Texian forces in the Texas Revolution, served as the first President of the Republic of Texas and was later as one of Texas’ U.S. senators.
“Comrades, we need to fight to remove the disgusting statues of ALL war criminals and slave owners,” the group states on its Facebook page.
“Texans agree the disgusting idols of America’s dark days of slavery must be removed to bring internal peace to our country,” they also claim.
Was Sam Houston a slave owner?
Was Sam Houston an “idol” of slavery?
And this is where history gets complicated.
Sam Houston owned 12 slaves and believed slavery was a national economic necessity. He also believed freeing all slaves would be a social and economic disaster.
* He opposed Texas’ secession, which forced him from office and ended his political career.
* He refused to pledge allegiance to the Confederacy.
* As a senator, he repeatedly voted against the expansion of slavery.
* Abolitionists like Charles Sumner considered him an ideological ally.
* As President of Texas he banned slave ships from operating in Texas.
* As President of Texas he banned payments to bounty hunters who caught escaped slaves.
* He ate alongside his slaves and called them “friends.”
* He encouraged his slaves to go get outside, paid, work so they could earn their own money.
* He educated his slaves’ children alongside his own children, which was illegal at the time.
* He freed his slaves in 1862 upon Lincoln’s issue of the Emancipation Proclamation, even proudly reading the proclamation to them, despite the fact it had no legal force and slavery would remain legal in the United States for another three years.
* Houston’s freed slaves remained loyal to him for the rest of his life, even offering to use their earnings to support his family after he died.
Houston supported slavery as a legal institution and owned 12 other people.
But, by the standards of the time he was very progressive, and many abolitionists considered him an ally.
Texas Antifa’s insane demands do bring up a legitimate question. Do you judge past people by today’s standards, or by the standards of their time?