Last week, the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles board of directors decided unanimously not to approve a Texas Sons of Confederate Veterans license plate featuring a Confederate battle flag. Many people showed up at the DMV hearing Thursday to testify for and (mostly) against the measure. But one man stood out: Reverend George V. Clark of east Austin’s Mount Zion Baptist Church, an African-American who has lived in Texas his entire 82 years. He’s seen a lot of history.
Many dignitaries testified for far longer than Reverend Clark, but it was his testimony that won the day.
Texas Pastor: “I’m History Myself. I’m 82 Years Old.”
From The Texas Observer:
Instead it was the heartfelt words of a man who has lived through the many changes that have occurred in the American South for people of color: “Mr. Chairman and board, I chose not to do any research on history, probably cause I’m history myself. I’m 82 years old. I’ve lived in Austin all of my life. Served in the military. Worked for the State of Texas, retired. Currently pastor a church now for 42 years,” he began.
“It saddens me that the possibility exists that I might still be driving around the state and frequently see something that represents hate, something that has made people feel less than human, something that caused you in the past to drive along a highway and see a confederate flag where you need to stop, but you see the flag and you keep driving.”
His words reminded people who are not old enough to have lived through racial segregation not to flippantly dismiss the power of symbols, reminding us that we must vigilantly guard that for which so many have suffered and died.
Sons Of Confederate Veterans Will Sue
The Sons of Confederate Veterans, however, vowed to file a lawsuit if Texas rejected the plate.
Nine states have approved similar license plates, but Virginia, Maryland and North Carolina did so only after the Sons of Confederate Veterans filed successful lawsuits, Givens said. A suit in Florida continues.
From The Star-Telegram:
Perry has defended the historical value of Confederate symbols. Now running for the GOP presidential nomination, when asked about the proposal last month, Perry said, “We don’t need to be opening old wounds.”
“Again, he wasn’t in favor of the plates,” Perry spokeswoman Lucy Nashed said after Thursday’s vote.
Marshall Davis, a spokesman for the Texas division of Sons of Confederate Veterans, told the Los Angeles Times that the group was “disappointed that the board chose not to support our heritage plates.”
You can watch Reverend G.V. Clark’s amazing testimony here:
Photo Credit: elycefeliz