Newsweek Frets Over 'Former Confederate Leader' Stephen Austin, Who Died in 1836

The Texas Capitol Building in Austin, Texas
The Texas Capitol Building in Austin, Texas /Getty Images
July 30, 2018

Newsweek reported Sunday on a potential move by Austin, Texas, to distance itself from its namesake Stephen F. Austin, erroneously referring to him as a "former Confederate leader."

Austin died of pneumonia in 1836, roughly a quarter-century before the founding of the Confederate States of America and the outbreak of the Civil War.

"The city of Austin, Texas has suggested in a preliminary report, that highlighted historical connections to a former Confederate leader, Stephen F. Austin, otherwise known as the "Father of Texas", that it might consider changing its name," Newsweek's Janice Williams wrote.

Williams added Austin "founded the city in 1839;" this, too, is incorrect. The city was founded that year and named in honor of Austin, who had died three years earlier.

Austin is known as the "Father of Texas" for his role in bringing settlers to the territory and ultimately fighting for the independence of Texas from Mexico. He was a slave-owner and the city's Equity Office reported on his fight to defend the practice as key to cotton and sugar production, the New York Post reports:

The state capital’s city council is considering renaming dozens of streets, parks, monuments and landmarks with ties to the Confederacy.

The city name itself is included in that list – which designates it as "not directly tied to the Confederacy and/or the Civil War but within the spirit of the resolution representing slavery, segregation, and/or racism."

Published under: Newsweek , Texas