Austin Officials Backpedal on Possible Name Change

Austin city officials say reports of a possible name change for Texas' Capital City is a complete misunderstanding.

Austin Equity Office Chief Brion Oaks the city's name was part of a broader look at historical figures with ties to racism, segregation, or slavery after City Council asked to look at Confederate monuments on city-owned property.

“I that has been grabbing the headlines, but I think for the public it is really important to look at the history behind some of our historic Austin figures,” Oaks said Tuesday.

“Stephen F. Austin was a slave owner and played a prominent role in helping Texas preserve slavery during the war with Mexico,” he said.  “But I highly doubt that Austin is going to be changing its name.”

Andy Hogue, spokesperson for the Travis County Republican Party, says it appears city officials were trying to bury the issue before it became public, and says he's not surprised it was even brought up.

“Once it was clear they had a Democrat majority on the City Council and we lost two Republicans in less than two years, I think they felt they had a mandate to go forward and be even more extreme than ever,” said Hogue.

“People fall victim to the trends of their times and unfortunately Stephen F. Austin was in support of slavery, but who knows if he would have changed his mind later on,” he said.  “If we transplanted him to today’s time he may have been an abolitionist like everybody else.”

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