HOUSTON – The “Spirit of the Confederacy” statue has been removed from Sam Houston Park. Mayor Sylvester Turner said it is one of two Confederate statues that will be removed before Juneteenth.
The statue will be relocated to the Houston Museum of African-American Culture in Midtown.
Turner said his decision to remove Houston’s Confederate statues from public parks marks a major turning point at an important time in our history.
"We're not afraid of it, we're confronting it, we're putting in the context to say this is what hatred looks like," said John Guess Jr., chief executive emeritus of HMAAC.
Guess said the statue will become part of an ongoing exhibit entitled “Lest We Forget” and funded by the Houston Endowment.
But in a strongly-worded statement issued on behalf of the Houston NAACP and on the organization’s letterhead, president Dr. James Douglas condemned the move.
“This is a situation where we’re honoring people who intended to destroy the nation and I don’t think anybody can justify that. You don’t see any statues honoring any of the Nazi regimes in Germany and you definitely wouldn’t see statue honoring Nazis who fought with Hitler in any Holocaust museums,” Douglas told KPRC 2.
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Roy Malonson, publisher of African-American News and Issues, also spoke out against the relocation to HMAAC in an editorial headlined, “Has Mayor Turner Lost His Damn Mind?”
Douglas' public opposition to the relocation appears to be a break with his board.
“That statement reflects Dr. Douglas’ personal opinion to which he’s entitled,” said Bishop James Dixon II of the Community of Faith Church, who serves as second Vice President on the Houston NAACP board.
Two Confederate statues in the park are set to be removed from city parks by June 19, also known as Juneteenth, marking the date in 1865 word of the Emancipation Proclamation was received in Galveston.