Over the last 16 months, Eric Johnson, of counsel in our Austin office and a member of the Texas House of Representatives, has fought to bring down a plaque on a wall in the state Capitol building containing the “Children of the Confederacy Creed.” His efforts were rewarded on January 11th, when the State Preservation Board, which includes Governor Greg Abbott, Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick and House Speaker Dennis Bonnen, voted unanimously for the plaque’s removal.
Installed during the early days of the Civil Rights Movement, the plaque had falsely proclaimed: “The War Between the States was not a rebellion, nor was its underlying cause to sustain slavery.” Eric drew on his advocacy skills to make a historical and legal argument for its removal. When Governor Abbott challenged that a state law would be required to remove the plaque, Eric appealed to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton for a determination that the State Preservation Board had the authority to remove the plaque. The Attorney General agreed with Eric that it did.
Eric notes: “When I started down this path, people told me I had no chance of getting that plaque removed. For me, this whole saga affirms the value of pursuing truth and never forgetting that, as lawyers, we have unique and powerful tools to preserve it.”