Under you can not make this up but Abbott and Republicans are not just trying to "whitewash" Texas history but to completely rewrite it. The bill actually is called the "1836 Project" teaching the "exceptionalism" of Texas.
Our desperate governor, needing to hide his horrendous handling of the COVID-19 pandemic (50,000+ deaths) and his horrendous appointments and lack of reforms directly leading to the energy grid shutdown this year, has moved on to North Korean style reeducation of Texas history.
Abbott proudly signed a piece of legislation creating the "1836 Project" this week in Texas. To give him credit he did not sign it under a painting of a plantation but he didn't need to do so because we can all just read the actual words of the Texas 1836 Constitution so instead of a group of white guys surrounding him he brought in one Black representatives named wait for it ... White (more in that in a moment).
The purpose of the bill is to increase "patriotic education" in Texas. I could be wrong about this but I believe Texas is the only state in the United States to have their citizens secede and commit treason against two nations, Mexico and the USA for the same reason slavery.
Abbott signing bill
Mexico had outlawed slavery and this was one of the major reasons Texas fought a revolution against Mexico in 1835. In 1836 Texas was established as a republic adopting their own constitution which enshrined slavery as a fixture of the country.
Section 9 of the General Provisions of the Constitution of the Republic of Texas, ratified in 1836, made slavery legal again in Texas and defined the status of slaves and people of color in the Republic of Texas.
- People of color who had been servants for life under Mexican law would become property.
- Congress should pass no law restricting emigrants from bring their slaves into Texas.
- Congress shall not have the power to emancipate slaves.
- Slaveowners may not free their slaves without Congressional approval unless the freed slaves leave Texas.
- Free persons of African descent were required to petition the Texas Congress for permission to continue living in the country.
- Africans and the descendants of Africans and Indians were excluded from the class of 'persons' having rights.
A quick read of other restrictions from the article is worth a read.
Fast forward to the Texas statement regarding secession from the USA.
We hold as undeniable truths that the governments of the various States, and of the confederacy itself, were established exclusively by the white race, for themselves and their posterity; that the African race had no agency in their establishment; that they were rightfully held and regarded as an inferior and dependent race, and in that condition only could their existence in this country be rendered beneficial or tolerable.
— Texas Secession Convention, A Declaration of the Causes which Impel the State of Texas to Secede from the Federal Union, (February 1861).
Clearly I could go on and on but it is safe to say that unfortunately Texas was only "exceptional " in their ongoing dedication to the ownership of people of African descent and "indians".
2021 Voting Restrictions
I am sure readers here saw the excellent diaries regarding the recent failed legislation regarding voter restrictions and Republicans allegedly denying knowledge of Texas history regarding "purity", ie White only primaries, when using that very language in their legislation. Painful ignorance or purposeful code words yielding the same results, voter oppression which will be addressed again during a special session this summer brought to you by the same Republicans.
The funding for this is through the Trcas Department of Education.
To be clear Abbott is not some uneducated ignoramus he is a lawyer and former Texas Supreme Court justice and neither is the Black man standing behind him.
The black man standing behind Abbott at the bill signing is a Republican and cosponsor of the legislation. Representative James White is not an ignorant man either, he is a college graduate with honors from a Texas historical Black College and a doctorate in political science from the University of Houston. He has to be aware of the real Texas history and worse yet he previously has been a teacher in Texas.
After leaving the Army with an Honorable Discharge in 1992, Rep. White began a career as a public school educator in the Houston area. He continued his teaching career in Fort Bend, Livingston, and Woodville independent school districts. He taught United States history, Texas history, and geography at the secondary level. Rep. White also taught U.S. Government and Economics at the collegiate and high school level. Rep. White coached high school football, basketball, and soccer and officiated youth sports.
From backing slavery to modern day voter restrictions there is no doubt that if Abbott and his fellow Republicans had their way, in their version of a perfect world, the 1836 constitution of the republic of Texas, the 1861 affirmation in the "Declaration of Causes", the "purity" primaries would be returned but because they know they are illegal they will instead do the best they can for now and pass restrictive voting in Texas.
The worst part is the federal 5th Circuit and the SCOTUS will probably allow them to get away for it.
At a bare minimum Section 5 of the VRA must be reenacted this year.
I am surprised that so far I couldn't find a Texas Tribune article tracking our history. We need to wrap this around every Republican running for office.