Known as both the “father of Texas” and the namesake of the state’s capital, Stephen F. Austin carved out the early outlines of Texas among his many accomplishments.
He also opposed an attempt by Mexico to ban slavery in the province of Tejas and said if slaves were freed, they would turn into “vagabonds, a nuisance and a menace.”
For that reason, the city of Austin’s Equity Office suggested renaming the city in a report about existing Confederate monuments that was published this week.
Also on the list of locales to possibly be renamed: Pease Park, the Bouldin Creek neighborhood, Barton Springs and 10 streets named for William Barton, the “Daniel Boone of Texas,” who was a slave owner.
To be sure, the identified streets and parks are only suggested for reconsideration. And the city, Bouldin Creek, Pease Park and the Barton-related landmarks — a group that includes Barton Springs — were included in a lower-tier list of “assets for secondary review” in the report. Still, the report did identify several streets staff consider related to the Confederacy and worthy of more immediate action. Those streets are:
• Littlefield Street
• Tom Green Street
• Sneed Cove
• Reagan Hill Drive
• Dixie Drive
• Confederate Avenue
• Plantation Road
The city estimates that it would cost $5,956 to rename the seven streets.
While the cost of such changes might appear reasonable, opposition to similar renamings has tended to revolve around the inconvenience and expense faced by longtime homeowners and business owners who must deal with a new address. Complaints along those lines surfaced earlier this year when the Austin City Council changed the names of two streets recognizing Confederate leaders.
Before the council renamed Robert E. Lee Road as Azie Morton Road and Jeff Davis Avenue was changed to William Holland Avenue, the city gathered input from residents along those streets. A majority opposed the changes, which occurred in April.
SOURCE: Philip Jankowski