Hundreds of protesters gathered in a Houston park Saturday to decry talk regarding the removal of Texas hero Sam Houston’s statue. Local activists have been calling for the statue’s removal, saying Houston owned slaves.
Houston, who died in 1863, was a soldier and the first president of the Republic of Texas. He’s also known for helping Texas become a constituent state. The statue has been in place since 1925.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner denied giving the statue’s removal any thought. Although there isn’t a government backed movement to remove it, protesters are concerned that activists are stepping up efforts. As other cities around the country have taken down Confederate monuments, this movement seems to be positioning itself ahead of specific city efforts for removal.
In protecting the statue, one speaker said their goal was to preserve the nation and its history. Another said the assembled group was not unlike past patriots, who stood up for their beliefs. He spoke passionately, saying, “We are all here today united with purpose to preserve what this monument stands for. To preserve our heritage, to preserve that which is Texas.” He said the monument represents independence and freedom.
Organizers welcomed people of all nationalities and religions and backgrounds to join them. Reportedly, some protesters attended the event armed, and some held Confederate flags, although Houston is said to have refused allegiance to the Confederacy.
You can see footage from the protest and a news report regarding the disputed monument below.
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