Remove Jaybird monument in downtown Richmond, Texas

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In downtown Richmond, Texas, right next to City Hall, stands a Jaybird-Woodpecker monument that highlights the lives of three Jaybirds: H. H. Frost, L. E. Gibson, and J. M. Shamblin. On the monument they are referred to as "OUR HEROES". The Jaybirds were a group of white men that formed after the Civil War who were mainly sons of confederate soldiers. The group fought to maintain power in Richmond, Texas. The Jaybirds rallied in support of white supremacy and believed that only white men should hold local political offices.

The Woodpeckers were a group that the Jaybirds rivaled. The Woodpeckers, largely comprised of African Americans and Whites, won their election/reelection in 1888 which put many African Americans in political office which then caused a war between the Woodpeckers and Jaybirds. After many deaths, the Governor became involved, he reached a "settlement" and reorganized the city government to put the Jaybirds in control. Soon after, the Jaybirds held a meeting on October 22, 1889, creating the "Jaybird Democratic Organization of Fort Bend County." It dominated local politics for decades and well into the 1950s. The Jaybirds established a "white-only" preliminary ballot for county offices. This effectively disenfranchised African Americans in the area. A similar white primary measure was adopted by the state legislature in the early 1900's. The Jaybird Democrats maintained control until their provision was overturned by a ruling by the United States Supreme Court in Terry v. Adams, 345 U.S. 461 (1953).

The Jaybirds were a local group that supported white supremacy and they should not be celebrated or recognized as local heroes. It is time we remove the monument because the Jaybirds, such as H. H. Frost, L. E. Gibson, and J. M. Shamblin, are not representative of the community or our values. It is time our community fights against local racial injustices and systemic racism and one of the first steps would be to remove this monument that represents white supremacy.