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Houston to remove Confederate statues from city parks

The statue of Confederate artillery commander Richard W. “Dick” Dowling statue sits in Hermann Park in Houston.
The statue of Confederate artillery commander Richard W. “Dick” Dowling statue sits near the entrance to Hermann Park in Houston.
(Steve Gonzales / Houston Chronicle)

Two statues that pay tribute to the Confederacy will be removed from Houston city parks, Mayor Sylvester Turner announced Thursday.

The statue of a Confederate soldier called “Spirit of the Confederacy” will be moved from Sam Houston Park, in the city’s downtown, to the Houston Museum of African American Culture. There “it can be interpreted in a way that promotes an inclusive and anti-racist community,” said Ann Stern, president and CEO of the Houston Endowment, a museum benefactor.

A statue of Richard W. “Dick” Dowling, a Confederate artillery commander prominent in the naval victory against two Union vessels in the Battle of Sabine Pass, will be moved from Hermann Park to the Sabine Pass Battleground State Historical Site near Port Arthur.

The relocations were recommended by a city task force Turner appointed to consider the issue.

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Many Confederate symbols and monuments have been damaged or brought down by demonstrators and removed by local authorities since the death of George Floyd, whose death has become a worldwide symbol in demonstrations calling for changes to police practices and an end to racial prejudice.

Protesters also have decried monuments to slave traders, imperialists and explorers, including Christopher Columbus, Cecil Rhodes and Belgium’s King Leopold II.


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