The statues were identified by a 2017 task force that reviewed the city's Confederate artifacts and monuments.
"While we have been working on a plan for some time, I have decided to move forward now considering the events of the past several weeks," Mayor Turner said in the announcement. "Our plan for relocating confederate statues from public parks to locations more relevant to modern times preserves history and provides an opportunity for our city to heal.”
The statue of Richard W. "Dick" Dowling, a Confederate officer, in Hermann Park and the "Spirit of the Confederacy" statue in Sam Houston Park will be moved by Juneteenth, June 19, the day in 1865 when slaves in Texas learned they had been freed by the Emancipation Proclamation—two years after it was issued in 1863.
The task force in 2017 recommended the relocation and preservation of the statues with the help of partner organizations.
A Houston Endowment grant will allow for the transfer the Spirit of The Confederacy from Sam Houston Park downtown to the Houston Museum of African American Culture.
“This is a huge step forward in the museum’s history of hosting difficult conversations [and] underscoring our multicultural conversation on race geared toward a common future. We have an opportunity to learn from our history, the good and the bad, to truly forge one nation,” said John Guess, CEO emeritus of the Houston Museum of African American Culture, in a news release.
The Texas Historical Commission is expected to vote on accepting the Dowling statute June 17. It is slated to be moved to the Sabine Pass Battleground State Historic Site in Port Arthur, Texas, the site of the battle where Dowling served as a commander.
The statues will be kept in storage until each new location is prepared to receive them, according to the city.