BROWNSVILLE — Since its inception a month ago, an online petition to remove a historical marker honoring Confederate President Jefferson Davis from Washington Park in Brownsville has amassed almost 5,000 signatures.
The petition’s author, Brownsville resident Antonio Castillo, said his wife and children are of African American ancestry and that from the family’s perspective the monument in a public park is unwelcoming to descendents of slaves.
The petition had garnered national attention from The Southern Poverty Law Center, a civil rights group, and is facing opposition from locals including Craig Stone.
Stone is the education and programs coordinator for the Brownsville Historical Association and a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans Mechanized Cavalry.
Stone has since launched his own online petition to keep the historical marker in Washington Park .
Professor James Mills from the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley history department said the marker commemorates military history that precedes the Civil War and is part of Brownsville ‘s history.
Mills described the petition to have the monument removed as “political correctness gone wild.”
“We have a lot of dark history in the past,” he said. “We can reinterpret it today but it doesn’t change the past. I think it is important that it stay there in Washington park.”