Austin city report on Confederate monuments suggests renaming city
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A new report from Austin, Texas’s Equity Office about existing Confederate monuments suggested changing the city's name.

The report identified several neighborhoods and 10 streets named in honor of the Confederacy or William Barton, a slave owner dubbed the “Daniel Boone of Texas," that could be changed, The Austin American-Statesman reported Friday.

Austin’s namesake, Stephen F. Austin — also referred to as the "father of Texas" — opposed efforts by Mexico to abolish slavery in the Tejas province, saying freed slaves would become “vagabonds, a nuisance and a menace,” the newspaper noted.

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Renaming the state’s capital would most likely require a citywide election because the name has been denoted in the city charter.

The Equity Office report also identified a number of Confederate historical markers on city property that could be removed with the approval of the Texas Historical Commission and the Travis County Historical Commission, the Statesman noted.

The report comes amid a national debate on Confederate monuments that was sparked following the 2015 mass shooting of black churchgoers in Charleston, S.C.

Dylann Roof, who was convicted of shooting and killing nine parishioners at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, is a self-proclaimed white supremacist who often donned a Confederate flag and says he was trying to ignite a race war.

Since then, 113 Confederate symbols across the country have been removed, according to a June report from the Southern Poverty Law Center.

A Richmond, Va., committee earlier this month recommended that the city remove a statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, but keep other Confederate monuments in place, including one of Gen. Robert E. Lee.

Two streets recognizing Confederate leaders were changed in Austin earlier this year, the Statesman reported. 

The report acknowledged that the removal of Confederate monuments is controversial, as some people view such name changes and the removal of such statues as a threat to historical preservation.

“It is essential to acknowledge that societal values are fluid, and they can be and are different today compared to when our city made decisions to name and/or place these Confederate symbols in our community,” the Equity Office's report notes.

“It is also important to acknowledge that nearly all monuments to the Confederacy and its leaders were erected without a true democratic process. People of color often had no voice and no opportunity to raise concerns about the city’s decision to honor Confederate leaders,” it continues.