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[Re-Revising History] Confederate War Hero Street

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout: Debate & Discussion' started by Cohete Rojo, Oct 22, 2015.

  1. Cohete Rojo

    Cohete Rojo Contributing Member

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    I heard this story on Houston Matters. One of the guests stated that renaming Dowling Street to Emancipation Blvd would be a sort of revisionist-revision: East Broadway Blvd had its name changed to Dowling to provide a revisionist view of the heroic "lost cause" of the Civil War.

    [rQUOTEr]Editorial: Rename Dowling Street

    Memorials that commemorate a racist past are best left to history books and museums.

    In 1892, Houston's city fathers decided the time had come for East Broadway Street to become Dowling Street, in honor of Lt. Richard Dowling. Thirty years earlier, young Dick Dowling, a 25-year-old Irish immigrant and Houston barkeep, had become an instant Confederate hero when he and 42 artillerymen repelled 22 Union warships at the mouth of the Sabine River.

    Perhaps it was coincidental, but the newly named street's most prominent feature was Emancipation Park, founded 20 years earlier by African-American community leaders, with money black churches had donated. Perhaps it was a coincidence, as well, that those same Houston city officials decided decided to bestow the name Tuam, Dowling's birthplace in Galway, Ireland, on the street runing along the park's northern border.

    As the city's historic Emancipation Park anticipates a grand reopening this year, Dowling and Tuam streets are among several street names, school names and memorials that commemorate a racist past best left to history books and museums. If South Carolina, where the Civil War began - and where it's never really ended - can decide to take down the Confederate battle flag that flies on the grounds of the state capitol, then surely Houston and Texas can reassess their commemoration of a slave-holding, apartheid South, a regime dedicated to the notion of white supremacy and willing to defend it no matter the cost.

    Houston can start by renaming Dowling Street, perhaps in time for the reopening of Emancipation Park. Interestingly, there's precedent for reassessing the local hero's place in history.

    A Dowling statue erected in front of the old City Hall in 1905 came down in 1939 and was stored away in a barn for nearly 20 years. Today it stands on the backside of Hermann Park, near the fifth green of the golf course. Most Houstonians rarely notice it.

    At least four schools in the Houston Independent School District need to be renamed: Lee High School, named in honor of Gen. Robert E. Lee; Johnston Middle School, which honors Albert Sidney Johnston, another Confederate general; Jefferson Davis High School, named after the president of the Confederacy; and Dowling Middle School. We've changed school mascots; now it's time to change names.

    Although Texas was on the periphery of the Confederacy compared to South Carolina and other Deep South bastions of a breakaway apartheid nation, the Lone Star State is replete with Confederate memorials. A Confederate-soldier statue stands guard over a number of county courthouse squares. More than 30 of those counties are named after Confederate figures (including Jeff Davis County in far West Texas).

    Those counties are unlikely to be renamed, but other memorials are more easily changed. The statue of Davis has no place on the campus of the University of Texas at Austin, where it has stood for decades. "Given Jefferson Davis' vehement support for the institution of slavery and white supremacy, we believe this statue is not in line with the university's core values - learning, discovery, freedom, leadership, individual opportunity, and responsibility," stated a petition circulated by members of UT's student government. Newly installed UT-Austin President Gregory Fenves, to his credit, is giving the petitioners a respectful hearing.

    We are well aware of the argument that commemorating the Confederacy is about heritage, not hate. Unfortunately, it's a heritage of hate, as the Texas secessionists themselves made clear in their Statement of Causes, published on Feb. 2, 1861:

    "We hold as undeniable truths that the governments of the various States, and of the confederacy itself, were established exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable. ."

    More than a century and a half after a war that tore apart this nation, that's the heritage we should be honoring?[/rQUOTEr]
     
  2. Nook

    Nook Member

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    Zzzzzz zzzzzzzzzzzzz zzzzzzzzzzzzz
     
  3. dback816

    dback816 Member

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    But everyone loved General Robert E. Lee

    He's like the Saladin of the South
     
  4. JuanValdez

    JuanValdez Contributing Member

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    I think Garnet Coleman exaggerates the offense. Dowling was a minor confederate war hero, but he was (a) not very senior (a lieutenant promoted to major after his victory at Sabine), and (b) not at all affiliated with slavery apart from fighting for the Confederacy. Also, (c) the neighborhood it ran through when they named Dowling St was not the central black community that it is today, though it did run along Emancipation Park which was owned at that time by an association of black churches. Aside from his participation in the war, Dowling was a successful early entrepreneur in Houston who owned a number of saloons. Aside from his service in the war, it wouldn't be surprising for him to have a street named after him anyway. I don't really think we should go around and disqualifying everyone that might have fought in that war, unless they've done something egregious. Others may disagree.

    Also, I think it's a shame because Dowling means something in Third Ward. In its heyday, Dowling was where the party was at, with black nightclubs all up and down. They still have night clubs, but it's not as happening as it supposedly once was.

    I don't have any real problem with it if we decide to change it. I just don't really feel it. As it happens, I am zoned to Johnston, so I'm interested in that one too.
     
  5. bmd

    bmd Member

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    I grow tired of people trying to spit on the names of people who fought for the South.

    Just because someone fought for Texas or fought for Georgia or fought for Tennessee does not make that person bad or "racist".

    They were fighting for their homeland and their brothers and sisters. It was a civil war.

    This idea that people who fought for the Confederacy cannot be honored is ridiculous. It's people who are ignorant of history who want to do this.
     
  6. SamFisher

    SamFisher Contributing Member
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    Heh, this is the increasingly discredited view that the losing side (especially assholes like Lee) successfully invented - aka the famous "Lost Cause" myth.

    You may deem it harmless but it's really not. The same assholes who are responsible for it are responsible for the Jim Crow South, lynchings, and all the like, and they were also responsible for numerous acts of treasons including, you know secession etc, all for their "right" to enslave other humans. That was what the Civil War is about, and that is what men like Robert E. Lee fought for.

    The pro-slavers lost the war.

    We should remember them as they were, not as they wish to be.
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. hlcc

    hlcc Member

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    right...... we should publicly honor people that committed treason & fought for a government that started a civil war because of slavery......
    if people want to honor jefferson davis etc on their own private property, that's fine with me, but I see no reason to have streets & schools named after the likes of Jefferson Davis.
     
  8. Rocket River

    Rocket River Member

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    It is like putting up statues of the 9/11 'terrorist'
    I'm sure they have family and brothers and sisters and a homeland

    Rocket River
     
  9. bmd

    bmd Member

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    There were black men who "committed treason" and fought for a government that started the civil war. Are you blaming them too?
     
  10. hlcc

    hlcc Member

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    If those black men you mentioned that fought for the Confederacy have streets & schools named after them, than yes they should be renamed as well.

    So since when did not wanting to have public streets & schools named after Confederate officers = blaming them? I'd rather have those streets & schools named after medal of honor recipients, fallen firefighter & police officers etc than somebody that fought on the wrong (losing) side of a civil war & wrong side of morality (pro-slavery)
     
  11. SamFisher

    SamFisher Contributing Member
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    Treason is, generally, a crime committed by a person against his/her country. You can't really commit "treason" against a country that has declared you property and not a person", at least at that point in time.

    Second, I'd say even if you could, slaves have a pretty good "coercion" defense, what with, you know, them being slaves and under perpetual penalty of death and torture, and having no legal right to self determnation, and such.

    Anyway, good lawyering there bro.
     
  12. JuanValdez

    JuanValdez Contributing Member

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    Jefferson Davis, I get. I want that name changed too. Davis and Lee were principal agents and executors of the rebellion. Dowling was a local citizen who joined the army once the war was on and was of rather low rank. Isn't there some difference between the movers of history and the cogs?
     
  13. Cohete Rojo

    Cohete Rojo Contributing Member

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    He still has a statue at Herman Park. Not sure if it should be removed. But East Broadway Blvd was renamed Dowling Street in the late 1800's - and it happened to be a corridor to Emancipation Park. I think those who intended to rename it Dowling Street got their message across very clearly.
     
  14. CometsWin

    CometsWin Breaker Breaker One Nine
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    Agree. Change all the names. Their names can be taught in history courses and in museums where they belong.
     
  15. bmd

    bmd Member

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    My point was simply that not everybody who was fighting for the South was some slave owner or person who cared one way or the other about slavery.

    And not everyone from the North was fighting against slavery out of the goodness of their heart. Many Northerners were just as racist as many Southerners.

    Many people here make the issue of the Civil War too black and white (no pun intended). There is a lot of grey.
     
  16. bmd

    bmd Member

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    Also... judging people from a long time ago with your current views is also wrong. You cannot judge people from a much different time period with our values today.

    A long time ago in France, people used to go to public executions and cheer. That is horrifying to us today, but that's just what people did back then.

    It's like trying to judge huts that people would build thousands of years ago to a modern home today and say those people couldn't build for crap. You cannot do that. It was a different time.
     
  17. CometsWin

    CometsWin Breaker Breaker One Nine
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    They were traitors then and traitors now. What judgement has changed? The only thing that has changed is that Confederate sympathizers in the South are dying off and an increasingly diverse population is questioning whether they want their communities to continue honoring a white supremacist Confederacy with statues and streets.
     
  18. hlcc

    hlcc Member

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    Like you said, numerous countries used to conduct public executions, but our values changed and most countries have stopped this kind of practice.

    Our technologies have evolved & we stopped building huts like we did thousands of years ago.

    So why can't we changed regarding the Confederacy related street & school names?

    If these 2 streets were originally named after Dowling to begin with, I would not have that much of a problem with it. Like others have pointed out Dowling was a minor figure in the Civil War with strong local ties. But let's not kid our selves, these 2 streets were renamed after Dowling almost 30 years after he died as a response to Emancipation Park. Now that our values have changed compared to that of 1892, I don't see a problem with us renaming these streets yet again.
     
  19. robbie380

    robbie380 ლ(▀̿Ĺ̯▀̿ ̿ლ)
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    Sam Houston was a slave owner and against abolition....let's rename Houston!
     
  20. DFWRocket

    DFWRocket Member

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    so did George Washington
     

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