Two Texas House bills are pushing to get rid of Confederate Heroes Day, a state holiday that falls the day after Dr. Martin Luther Ling, Jr. Day.
The holiday falls on Robert E. Lee's birthday and is intended to honor Confederate soldiers.
”This has been a controversial holiday since it was created. It’s been a point of contention because there are people on both sides who have strong feelings,” said Brandon Rottinghaus, a professor of political science at the University of Houston.
Those who want to keep the holiday believe it’s a symbol of their heritage and want to demonstrate their pride in preserving this history. Meanwhile on the opposition, dissenters feel offended by displays honoring Confederate soldiers.
”Honoring them, I don’t think we should honor them, but you know, don’t have them like they [Texas A&M University] have the Sully statue in the middle of an academic plaza. I don’t think it should be there," said Ebony Peterson, the co-founder of Brazos Valley Black Lives Matter Movement.
Ebony believes preserving our history is important and suggests the best way to do so is transferring Confederate monuments to museums, something recently done at the University of Texas at Austin.
”At the Briscoe Center on University of Texas at Austin's campus, they took a statue of Jefferson Davis and put it inside the museum, so you could see the monument itself, see the statue itself and you could read about the history,” Professor Rottinghaus shared.
After the death of George Floyd and the summer of 2020, civil unrest struck a chord in many. Some believe it has allowed those who were once complacent to become more aware of how holidays like Confederate Heroes Day can remind others of a more tragic piece of history.
”What happened to George Floyd has definitely forced everyone to wake up, so for the law makers to be willing to push such an effort, I appreciate that,” Peterson expressed.
Professor Rottinghaus believes our history is the root of who we are, where we come from, and allows us to learn from our mistakes.
”One attempt to try to bring some compromise was to rename Confederate Heroes Day Civil War Remembrance Day and then move it to the summer so that it wouldn’t interfere or conflict with Martin Luther King, Jr. Day,” Proffesor Rottinghaus added.
According to the Texas Trribune, eight other states, such as Virginia, Louisiana, Mississippi, and South Carolina to name a few, have similar holidays throughout the year honoring Confederate soldiers.