Ties To Slavery May Cause Austin To Rename Itself

Rob Shimshock | Education Reporter

The Austin, Texas, Equity Office suggested the city rename itself, citing ties the city’s namesake has to slavery.

Austin’s Chief Equity Officer, Brion Oaks mentioned the possibility in a 25-page Confederate Monuments Resolution Report sent to the city’s mayor and council, reported CNN.

The city is named after settler Stephen F. Austin, who is credited with founding Texas. But Austin “fought to defend slavery in spite of Mexico’s effort to ban it; believed slave labor indispensable for Texas to flourish in its production of sugar and cotton; believed that if slaves were emancipated they would turn into ‘vagabonds, a nuisance and a
menace,'” according to the report, which cites Life of Stephen F. Austin: Founder of Texas by Eugene Barker.

The Texas founder also “wanted slaveowners to be compensated if their slaves were emancipated.”

Oaks made his suggestion to rename the city, as well as proposals to rename streets and remove memorials. Items on the list were sorted by high or medium priority, depending on how closely tied the Equity Office deemed they were to the Confederacy. The office listed streets like Confederate Avenue and Dixie Drive as high priorities, for instance.

Texas was the site of 32 of the 113 Confederate memorials removed since Dylann Roof’s Charleston church massacre in 2015, removing the most memorials out of any state. (RELATED: At This Rate, Confederate Statues Could Be Gone In 50 Years)

Austin’s city council will examine the list compiled by the Oaks and the Equity Office.

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