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2016-06-30

Daughters settle suit with General Land Office

Special to the Courier

The Daughters of the Republic of Texas and Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush have reached a legal settlement to their yearlong dispute over an archival library housed on the Alamo grounds since 1950.
“The Daughters held fast and our prayers were answered,” said Dr. Betty J. Edwards, president general of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas. “With this behind us, we can refocus on our mission to ensure the next generation of Texans understand and appreciate our unique history as a sovereign republic.”
As a result of the settlement, the General Land Office dropped any ownership claims to the Daughters of the Republic of Texas Library Collection. The collection closed to the public on June 1 to prepare for its move from its historic home adjacent to the Alamo Shrine to the Texas A&M-San Antonio campus. Through the agreement, Bush also agreed to reimburse the Daughters $200,000 for legal expenses.
Shortly after taking office in 2015, Bush ordered the Daughters and their staff to be locked out of the library after he terminated their management contract for the Alamo. Only after the Daughters received a temporary restraining order against Commissioner Bush and the GLO was DRT staff able to reenter the library.
Lamont Jefferson, who negotiated the settlement on behalf of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, said he was pleased with the result.
“The Daughters of the Republic of Texas are a respected organization of women who honor and preserve our state’s history. This lawsuit was about protecting individual liberties against the overreach of the state.” Jefferson said. “This settlement will allow the Daughters to return to their work telling the story of Texas, which they have done so well now for almost 125 years.”
Edwards said the more than 7,000 members of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas are up to the task.
“We may just be a nonprofit organization of women, but we are Texas women,” she said. “We will persevere, and we will succeed.”