HOUSTON – Mayor Sylvester Turner announced Thursday he plans to relocate two Confederate statues from Houston parks in commemoration of Juneteenth next week.
The holiday on Friday celebrates the day enslaved people in Texas learned that the Emancipation Proclamation had granted them freedom three years earlier.
In 2017, Turner appointed a task force of historians, community leaders, and department directors to review the city’s inventory of items related to the confederacy and recommend appropriate action. The task force had recommended that the statues be removed from public property and not be destroyed after submitting their findings. See a full list of artwork in Houston that are connected to the Confederacy, the Civil War or slavery here.
Here is a list of the statues and paintings currently on display on city properties:
Location: Hermann Park (to be relocated by the City of Houston)
Dedication date: 1905
Richard “Dick” Dowling was a bar owner who joined the Irish Militia made up of his patrons. The army mustered straight to the Confederate army upon secession and became a lieutenant.
George H. Hermann
Location: Hermann Park, Gragg Park
Dedication Date: 1981, 1943
George Hermann became a benefactor to the City of Houston, donating funds and property for Hermann Park, Memorial Hermann, and Hermann Square. Although there is no record of him owning slaves, he joined the Texas Cavalry at 18 years old during the Civil War.
Location: Hermann Park
Dedication date: 1908
Sam Houston became the first president of the Republic of Texas, first Senator of Texas, and Governor. He is also the namesake of the city. Although he was a slave owner in his time, he opposed the expansion of slavery and Texas joining the confederacy.
Spirit of the Confederacy
Location: Sam Houston Park (to be relocated by the City of Houston)
Dedication date: 1908
The statue was erected in 1908 by Robert E. Lee’s chapter of the Daughters of the Confederacy and was dedicated to the soldiers of the Confederate army.
Additional statues, art considered:
- Sam Houston (bust) - 1925, Julia Ideson Reading Room
- Stephen F Austin (bust) - Unknown year, Julia Ideson Reading Room
- Arlington (painting) - 1936, Julia Ideson Reading Room
- Beuvior (painting) - 1936, Julia Ideson Reading Room)
- Sam Houston (painting) - Unknown year, Julia Ideson Reading Room
- Adele Briscoe Looscan (painting) - 1936, Looscan Neighborhood Library