A government office in Austin, Texas, is recommending the city consider changing its name following a report on the city's Confederate street names, parks, and monuments.
What are the details?
In the report, Austin's Equity Office denounced Stephen F. Austin — who is known as the "father of Texas" — for his role in defending slavery after Texas gained its independence from Mexico, according to The Austin American-Statesman.
The memo states, KUT-FM reported:
[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.' Wanted slaveowners to be compensated if their slaves were emancipated.
The Equity Office released its report last week after the Austin City Council tasked the agency with examining the role Confederate history has across The Lone Star State's capital city last October.
Additionally, the report identified seven city streets as "high priority" for renaming and recommends the Austin City Council propose new names for the streets. Renaming the streets would cost the city $5,956.
Changes to road names would require public hearings and City Council meetings before any changes are solidified. The city would also reach out to residents and business owners along the roads to hear their input on proposed changes.
More from KUT:
The office also suggests the city reconsider the name of some of Austin’s most recognizable streets, parks and landmarks – including Pease Park, Barton Springs, and Bouldin and Waller creeks – but not before input from Council and the public. The Equity Office says those second-tier suggestions honor figures who weren’t directly tied to the Confederacy, but may represent “segregation, racism, and/or slavery.”
Meanwhile, changing the city's name would likely require an election because the name is solidified in the Austin city charter, the American-Statesman reported.
The city has already changed the names of two streets that previously honored Confederate figures. The report comes as cities across the South reconsider their Confederate histories.