Thursday is Confederate Heroes Day in Texas, but Houston lawmakers want it gone after this session

ByKaren Alvarez KTRK logo
Friday, January 20, 2023
Texas marks Confederate Heroes Day, holiday a lawmaker wants gone
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A Texas lawmaker is pushing to eliminate "Confederate Heroes Day," as he says it should have never been recognized in the first place.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A Texas lawmaker is pushing to eliminate a state holiday that's celebrated on Jan. 19. That holiday is known as "Confederate Heroes Day," and it was created in 1973 by the Texas Legislature.

State Rep. Jarvis Johnson, D-Texas 139th House District, said this is his third attempt to put an end to the holiday, which he says should have never been recognized in the first place.

"It's still a holiday that should not be in our books and should not be synonymous with what Texas is," Johnson said.

The holiday was originally created to honor former Confederate leaders like General Robert E. Lee and those who fought for the Confederacy. However, for Johnson, who says holidays imply celebrating and championing positive events, Confederate Heroes Day is not one of them.

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Because it's a state holiday, state offices remain open, but employees have the option to take the day off.

With this being his third time filing legislation to eliminate the holiday on the state calendar, he hopes this time around, it'll gain enough bipartisan support. Other leaders agree with one of the nation's largest grassroots veterans' organizations backing the move.

"Replacing it with something that is more in line with what our country's values are," Naveed Shah, political director at Common Defense, said.

In recent years, there have been efforts across the country to eliminate any ties honoring the Confederacy.

Nearly two years ago, crews removed the "Spirit of the Confederacy" statue from Sam Houston Park.

SEE ALSO: 'Remembrance of a horrible past': Texas lawmakers want end of holiday celebrating Confederate vets

It's those types of actions that Johnson believes display a step in the right direction.

"We'll never heal. We'll never come together if we continue to allow an egregious past to define our present and our future," Johnson said.

ABC13 reached out to Gov. Greg Abbott and Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick for comments, and we have not received a response.