Remove Racist Monument in Fort Bend County

Remove Racist Monument in Fort Bend County

June 14, 2020
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Signatures: 1,999Next Goal: 2,500
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Why this petition matters

In the heart of America’s most diverse county, a monument honoring post-Confederate leaders is memorialized next to Richmond City Hall. The monument honors HH Frost, LE Gibson, & JM Shamblin as “OUR HEROES.” These individuals were part of the Jaybirds - a post-Confederacy, anti-African American group that waged war against the Woodpeckers, a democratically elected group of officials and advocates that supported the voting rights of freed slaves - to successfully reinstall white supremacy well into the 20th century. Shortly after the “Battle of Richmond,” the Jaybirds with the support of the Governor of Texas dissolved the biracial county government and appointed Jaybird candidates to each office. With their win, the Jaybirds implemented “white only primaries” to disenfranchise African Americans for decades until the United States Supreme Court honed in on Fort Bend County in 1953 and ended the practice (Terry V. Adams).

This major public monument glorifies the values of the Jaybirds and white supremacy reflecting their support of the Confederacy, an insurgent movement against our country, which is an affront to all Americans. Public Institutions can choose what aspects of history to honor.

We want this petition to show local officials that there is strong support for the monument’s removal both in Richmond, TX and beyond.

A national conversation is happening about the place for symbols of the Confederacy and its dark remnants like the Jaybirds. In the same way that the Confederate flag projects the values of racial hatred, the Jaybird-Woodpecker Monument memorializes decades of racial inequality and bigotry.  

As residents of a diverse and growing community, we do not want to erase history but we also do not believe it’s right for the County Seat to display a monument that glorifies rather than teaches. A museum would provide the monument with historical context so it could be learned from instead of revered.

Houston, Fort Bend, and Richmond pride itself as being a catalyst of progress, inclusion, and diversity, but it is impossible to reach that goal while putting an idol of our darkest days on a pedestal.

In addition to re-locating this monument from its current pedestal of honor to a museum, we support a community effort to enact a statue or monument commemorating any of the following:

1)      Hon. Walter Moses Burton, the first elected Black Sheriff in Fort Bend County AND the United States (1876-1883) & four term state senator (1874-1833)

2)      A Woodpecker Community Leader that supported biracial governing coalitions

3)      John Terry, Arizona Fleming, & Willie Melton, plaintiffs that won in the United States Supreme Court, to end the practice of “white only primaries” in Fort Bend County (Terry v. Adams, 1953)

The inscription of this monument reads:

"These brave and noble sons of Fort Bend County, whose names are here enshrined, gave their lives in order that the people of this county might have a just, honest, and capable county government. Their fellow citizens have reared this monument to their memory and as a promise to them that their principles shall be maintained for all time to come."

More info on the history:

Petition Written by Taral Patel (personal capacity), resident of Katy, Texas

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Signatures: 1,999Next Goal: 2,500
Support now