First African-American monument unveiled at State Capitol

A sunny, fall Saturday at the State Capitol was the backdrop for a historic day. A day that Tyrone Smith and his young daughter drove hours to be a part of.

"It's a statement piece. Everybody has their staple and everybody wants to leave their mark. Legacy is a big thing for me and my family so this will go down as part of the legacy." Smith said, "It's historic. It's historic to say the least and I'm glad she could be part of it.

Hundreds gathered to see the first monument dedicated to African American History in Texas. Daniel Davis-Clayton and Alma Allen-Johnson said the final product was worth the wait. 

"Today was simply amazing. The monument is beautiful and its an accurate representation of not only the struggles but also the triumphs of the African-American community," Clayton said.

"I think it's just a blessing to be able to witness it. No one knows all the hard work that it took to see this day come to fruition," Allen-Johnson said.

The Texas African American History Memorial Foundation said the monument contains almost 500 years of black history. A rich history that will be proudly displayed.

"In its rightful place at the very front of the Capitol grounds of the great state of Texas," Governor Greg Abbott said.

For this generation and many more to see.

"It was refreshing to see everybody out and celebrating just the culture and the history and the memorial is a great statement here in Austin," Smith said.

"I think it's a place where we can bring our children. It also allows us to open the door for a conversation that we may not always have the opportunity to have," Clayton said.

For more information about the monument, visit

After almost two decades of planning, the first monument celebrating African-American history will be unveiled at the State Capitol on Saturday. A day Bill Jones, the president of the Texas African American History Memorial Foundation,  said is long overdue.

"Our goal and our purpose is to not only show, through images, the story you will read about those images, of Texas African-American history but hopefully it will inspire others to dig deeper into their own background to find out about their history and to understand that it is important," Jones said.

While history is important, long time Austin resident Dominic Cotton feels Austin's history tells a much harsher story.

"I don't believe that the black man is going to benefit anything from the monument being up because of the fact of past deeds that have been done in the black community and to the black community. I don't think the monument is going to change anything," Cotton said.

Danny Morman has lived in Austin for over 20 years and owns a business in Austin's east side. He said the shifting cultural dynamic he's seen on the east side is the real story the city is telling.

"It's a good thing but what does it prove? It's a monument, it shows that something did happen, there were blacks in Texas but where are they now? What did we actually really achieve and how much did we have to go through to get a monument up?" Morman said, "What good does it do to acknowledge what it is you're trying to make disappear or eliminate? I mean they are going to other cities. They are going to Round Rock, Houston, there is nothing here."

While Morman and Cotton are not against the monument going up, they hope the unveiling will lead to more being done to uplift the current generation of black's in Austin.

"It's good to recognize the fact that blacks have made contributions to the state of Texas but don't limit us from making further and better contributions to the state," Morman said.

"Perhaps this monument can be used during a time for people to understand more about each other and I think now, in today's environment, right after a divisive presidential election is perhaps the best time to start exploring more about each other," Jones said.

The unveiling ceremony is scheduled for 10 A.M. Saturday morning at the Capitol. For more information about the monument and organization, visit

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