AUSTIN (KXAN) - A controversial license plate has stirred up a whirlwind of conversation for the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles because of its confederate flag logo.
A group called the Sons of Confederate Veterans has proposed a new license plate to commemorate fallen Texas confederate soldiers. The plate uses the group's insignia on the left side of the license plate. Consideration for the plate application went before TXDMV board members in April with a tied vote of 4 in approval and 4 against.
The ninth board member Ramsay Gillman's deciding vote is what has caused the license plate to stall. Gillman passed away unexpectedly this month and his replacement has to be appointed by Gov. Rick Perry .
The Sons of Confederate Veterans plate was up for public vote in March, a month before an April board meeting. Another organization seeking a license plate, the Buffalo Soldiers Museum in Houston, has its plate displayed on the TXDMV website for the public to weigh in on.
"Our agency has sponsored, you may recall, we sponsored one other plate prior to this plate. I can't recall what that was for. And we gladly agreed to sponsor the Sons of Confederate Veterans plate."
Patterson also referred to the Buffalo Soldiers Museum plate application, addressing board members concerns about the controversy surrounding the Sons of Confederate Soldiers application.
"I understand that there's some controversy or some folks can conjure up some controversy, but I would submit to you that sponsorship of a Buffalo Soldiers plate should be equally as controversial, and frankly, therefore, should not be controversial at all, as an SCV plate, because what did the Buffalo Soldiers do?"
Patterson detailed the history of soldiers in the African American members of the 9th and 10th Cavalry who served on the Texas frontier in the 1870s and 1880s.
"What did they do except to participate in a genocide… against an entire race of people, the American Plains Indians, and in effect, put that race of people into reservations," he said.
Patterson said both the Buffalo Solders and the Confederate Veterans, of which he is a descendent, served honorably, just as he served honorably in Vietnam.
"Not all things in Vietnam were done in a manner that I'm proud of. I served in Vietnam but I'm not proud of what happened. This is history and any time you commemorate history and those who served honorably, be they Buffalo Solders, as you will see in a few months, I guess, at your next meeting a plate from the Buffalo Soldiers Museum, or the Sons of Confederate Veterans, I think they should be honored," he said.
Board members asked Patterson if there was consideration to change the logo proposed, which represents a confederate flag which has been a symbol of the organization since 1897.
"Today it's politically incorrect to talk about honorable service in the Confederate Army but it's not political incorrect to talk about honorable service on the frontier as a member of the Buffalo Soldiers, a plate that you will be seeing in the not too distant future for your approval," said Patterson.
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