Hundreds of individuals, some armed, gathered at a Houston park on Saturday to protest what they believed were efforts to remove a statue of Texas hero Sam Houston because he owned slaves.
The only problem – the statue was never actually considered for removal, and a fake Facebook page had trolled conservatives and Donald Trump supporters into believing it was.
A group called Texas Antifa posted on May 19 that groups on the left were attempting to get the Sam Houston Monument taken away, starting a ‘Don’t Mess With Texas’ campaign.
Hundreds of individuals gathered at a Houston park Saturday to protest what they believed were efforts to remove a statue of Texas hero Sam Houston because he owned slaves
But the statue was never actually considered for removal, and a fake Facebook page was found to be behind the misinformation
A group called Texas Antifa posted on May 19 that the left wanted the statue to be taken away
After the posting, Houston Antifa told its members that Texas Antifa was not a real page
‘We’re about to have a huge event in Houston June 10 with the combined forces of several large groups, perhaps our biggest ever,’ the page stated.
‘The Fascists better not show up or they will be limping home bruised, broken, hurt, and crying with their tails tucked between their legs.
‘We will be freely heard without their attendance because they rarely counter against us since they don’t have the support numbers and are few and far between, especially in Houston. Brothers go to our National Page for the event information.’
But after the posting, Houston Antifa told its members that Texas Antifa was not a real page.
‘Trolls are going to continue to use these nefarious tactics in attempts to misrepresent the purposes and ideologies of Antifa, to use hot button issues like statue removal, etc to mobilize and drum up ire from generica MAGAs / Conservatives,’ Houston Antifa told Buzzfeed News.
That didn’t stop angry protesters, however, who arrived to the park in droves. The recent removal of four Confederate monuments has raised fears that the trend could spread.
That didn’t stop angry protesters, however, who arrived to the park in droves
The event drew a motley assortment of patriot groups, historical buffs, and alt-right groups
A beloved historical figure to many Texans, Sam Houston was the state’s first US senator and served as governor in the run-up to the Civil War.
Although he was a slaveholder and opposed abolishing slavery, he was the only Southern governor to reject the Confederacy, and was ousted as governor when Texas left the Union.
‘Preserving our Texas monuments is very important because those who don’t understand history are doomed to repeat it,’ Brandon Burkhart, a organizer, told the Pink Armadillo.
‘Good or bad, this is our heritage and our history needs to be preserved to help ensure our continued freedom.’
Tensions broke out when one group carrying Confederate flags was shouted down by patriot groups, and separated by police to protest in a separate area. There were no reports of arrests at the largely peaceful protest.
Despite the high turnout, at the end of the day, the cause behind the protest was indeed a hoax.
‘In reality, we were duped,’ Jeremy Alcede, head of security for the group This Is Texas, said.
Houston was the first president of the Republic of Texas and later served as governor when Texas became a US state
HISTORY OF SLAVERY IN TEXAS
Texas Governor Sam Houston, a slaveholder, rejected the Confederacy
Slavery was legal in Texas for most of the territory’s history as a colony, Mexican state, and independent republic.
Texas joined the United States in 1845 as a slave-holding state.
By 1860, roughly 25 per cent of white Texan families owned slaves, and the slave population made up 30 per cent of the state.
In 1861, Governor Sam Houston, a slaveholder, rejected the legality of a vote for Texas to quit the Union for the Confederacy.
Houston opposed secession, fearing it would cost countless lives in an ultimately unsuccessful venture.
Texas succeeded from the Union in 1861 and Houston was removed from office for refusing to swear loyalty to the Confederacy.
Texas slaves were the last to be emancipated, gaining their freedom on June 19, 1865. The event is commemorated as Juneteenth across the country.