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Confederate plaque at state Capitol to come down

In this Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, photo, a Confederate plaque is displayed near the Rotunda in the Texas State Capitol in Austin, Texas. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Within minutes of the beginning of the State Preservation Board meeting, a year and a half of controversy over the Children of the Confederacy Creed plaque was over, by unanimous vote. The plaque has hung in a narrow hallway on the north side of the Capitol for the last sixty years, but Friday, the state representative who first petitioned to bring it down said it was a day of mixed emotions.

No one spoke out against removing the plaque at the meeting, but a look at my Facebook shows that some Texans feel it should stay up.

The plaque was put up in 1959, and says that slavery was not a cause of the Civil War, which is wrong. Representative Eric Johnson of Dallas was the first to request that it come down. "Having to see it on a more regular basis, I stopped and just read it again and I said to myself how is this plaque still here. It's so blatantly untrue," he said.

It wasn't just the part that's wrong about the cause of the Civil War -- it was also about what it stood for. "My family has been in Texas since before the Civil War. And I am the descendant of slaves," Johnson said, calling that his mother lived through Jim Crow and remembers the political climate in 1959, when the civil rights movement was beginning and there was a backlash to the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision that desegregated schools around the country.

Now, in 2019, Representative Johnson isn't really celebrating, but instead, reflected on what the plaque symbolizes. "I don't think today's really an occasion for a whole lot of fist bumping and backslapping high fives," he said. "It never should have been there in the first place."

A spokeswoman for Representative Johnson says it may take a few days for the plaque to come down because the state must hire a contractor to do it.

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