I spent this past weekend in Texas with my three older brothers. One of them just turned 60, and we decided to celebrate his milestone birthday by visiting Austin, where he attended grad school years ago. We devoted most of our time to exploring the city and UT campus on foot, covering about 25 miles in all, with a pause to stand dutifully on line in 95 degree heat for terrific BBQ (it was worth it.) I wouldn’t ordinarily blog about a pleasure trip like this, except for two things that caught my attention.
The first was a fun little New Rochelle connection. While wandering around the LBJ Presidential Library, I came across this letter on display:
Neat, right? And it was actually one of three New Rochelle references in the Library. There was also a clip of the Dick Van Dyke show running on a continuous loop as part of a collection of iconic images to set the mood of the era. And there was a New York magazine cover from 1968 which read “How the Maharishi bombed out in New Rochelle.” (I have no idea.)
My other reason for blogging is considerably less pleasant. Here’s the message inscribed on the Confederate monument that sits prominently on the grounds of the Texas State House:
I’ve heard some people argue that Confederate monuments honor “heritage” or some other such neutral and benign-seeming word. But this ugly inscription cuts through that pretense like a knife.
A monument like this, which glorifies the cause of a brutal slave nation, doesn’t belong in a place of honor on public grounds anywhere in the United States of America. A museum might be appropriate, although a wrecking ball would be more just.