And I think the best thing to do is use the opportunity to honor a Latina civil rights leader and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom who doesn't have any major thing named after her in El Paso, Dolores Huerta.
We shouldn't be honoring confederates. They were traitors to their country and took up arms against the United States. There's no getting around that basic fact. You can spin it anyway you want, but confederates were the enemy. The cause they fought for was to preserve the ability to enslave other human beings.
As a veteran, it has always bothered me to see statues and street names after confederates. Fort Bliss has several, including confederate General Jeb Stuart. And that is on a military installation! They were the enemy,
While being a slave owner was certainly not unique to confederates at one point of our history, and yes most of our Founding Fathers were slave owners. But only confederates actually took up arms to preserve the ability to hold their fellow man in bondage.
It is an insult of the highest order that a predominantly Latino community and a military community like El Paso has a street named a traitor to his country. Its brings dishonor upon us.
Especially when one considers we are home to the first all black team to win an NCAA championship in basketball and were one of the first communities to desegregate.
We can't deny, nor forget our collective history.
But we don't have to honor bad people or portions of our history. We should learn from it to better ourselves.
The impact of changing the name in practical terms is minimal. The street is small. There are no residences on it and very few businesses.
Rather than honor someone who killed patriotic American soldiers to protect the economic institution of slavery, ensuring the subjection of African-Americans and ensuring they had no rights as citizens, we should turn the name change into a positive and honor someone who was a civil rights leader.
We should honor a woman who was a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom from our first African-American President, Barack Obama. That is the most poetic way of correcting a wrong that is long past due.
City Representative Cassandra Brown represents the area where the street is located and sent me the following:
I'll keep you posted on any progress if this happens.
"I'm currently meeting with the businesses on Robert E Lee Street to determine their support for a citizens initiative to rename the street. There may be unintended consequences to the businesses and their support to agree to absorb any costs to their businesses is critical on my decision. There are three business I was able to identify. I'm going door to door this morning. Several members of the public are interested in following the city's process to rename a street and efforts to fundraise to cover the street renaming costs are underway by the interested parties. If all stars align, I'll be reaching out to African American organizations to assist with the renaming.