Dallas police officers on motorcycles ready to escort the statue of Robert E. Lee to a storage facility. Photo by Alex Macon.

Local News

Dallas’ Robert E. Lee Statue Finally Comes Down

There is now an empty pedestal in the park that still bears the Confederate general's name.

It’s impossible to know whether all of the dozens of people gathered at Robert E. Lee Park on Thursday evening got what they were looking for — catharsis, maybe an opening to argue with their neighbors in the flesh, definitely a chance to photograph a sometimes surreal scene. They did get a show, of sorts.

After weeks of debate, a near-unanimous City Council vote, one removal attempt gone sideways, a brief court battle, and a statewide crane search, it almost felt anticlimactic.

The crane rolled in a little after 4 p.m, escorted by police and accompanied by TV news choppers buzzing overhead. A crew set to work with saws, crowbars, heavy equipment, and harnesses. By 7 o’clock, the bronze statue of the Confederate general, his horse, and his companion was hoisted onto a trailer. By 7:45, the sun setting, what must be the world’s sturdiest pickup truck was pulling Lee away from the Oak Lawn park that, for now, bears his name. Police and airborne news cameras joined Lee for the slow ride to the storage facility where he will remain until he is placed in a museum, or in some rich person’s backyard, or in whatever place fate and the task force weighing the future of Dallas’ Confederate monuments deem appropriate.

Some onlookers cheered as the truck drove off with Lee. Others booed. One tried to start a singalong. Another exhorted the crowd to care for “their history,” tied to a trailer bed heading south down Hall Street. Both were largely ignored, most content to watch the strangely muted spectacle of the 81-year-old statue’s disappearance.

Somebody must have thought, “What now?”

A few people went to take photos of Lee’s pedestal, now empty.

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Comments

  • Happy Bennett

    Classy move on the part of Dallas Mayor Rawlings and his band of merry Maoists on the city council to detract attention from “North Texas Giving Day”. I’m sure that the Conservancy (formerly known as Lee Park) and its donors are fully in awe of the timing here.

    • KwaneYarnell

      Awwww, so sad.
      A not-so-Happy Bennett rues the removal of a statue celebrating an outright traitor to the United States.
      A statue of a scumbag that never should have been erected in the first place.

      • Marcie Batten

        Jesus loves you too, according to some….

    • JamieT

      Remember what I said below about Kingston, et al’s cynical, self-serving gambit promoting vicious, zero-sum tribalism?

      https://www.dmagazine.com/frontburner/2017/09/after-plans-for-quick-confederate-statue-removal-backfires-armed-protesters-head-to-dallas/#comment-3518193338

      Here you’ve just now been redefined as “evil, immoral” by the same folks Kingston, D, and others have been cheering on, and, as we already know from college professors trying to kill their ideological opponents with bicycle locks, when it comes to confronting and defeating evil immorality, rules and civilization somehow just fall by the wayside, don’t they.

      Where’s our healing, Dwaine? At some other Council-determined undisclosed location?

      • alexander troup

        Lets Call Lee Park …..Kingston Park and not some Jewish Holocost Museum name.. beside Pride is really Oak Lawn these days has been for over 25 years and Kingston needs a statue…get into the grove and get Dallas out of what it is becoming …small and boring….

    • alexander troup

      I was there and it was a small crowd and the way things have become since then it is the Hollywood Effect of how to make the glamour tell more then the story really was…and who will be in control of this big one…over all it is time to realize the Blending of Dallas as a Future Black City is now on a more positive note and the end of an era of just good old fashion Dallas folks…that my friends was the 20th Century and to make this a Smart City or a Future city..one has to get rid of other things…..to make the look so good, no one will ever complain again..as for Robert E Lee he has been kidnapped and is in a cell at some old Airport shame the city did not take the 25 million from the Robert E Lee Foundation,while his ransom went up….Ok Dallas do your duty and don’t dig up my ancestors they are all old Voodoo Doctors…no C.S.A here.

  • KwaneYarnell

    As Ned Flanders who say A-Diddly Awesome!
    BUH-BYE and good riddance to the commemoration of traitors, cowards, liars and vile, slave-owning scumbags of the American Confederacy.
    You got your evil, immoral butts kicked and you deserve ‘obscurity’ as your reward.

    • Marcie Batten

      Except for a few inconvenient facts like the American people and the US government restored Lee’s citizenship long ago and the statue was put in place by Greatest Generation Americans ( of whom YOU will never be one) as well as standing through 81 years of war and domestic tranquility.

  • MattL1

    They should slice Lee off, fix some sort of motorized dolly to the bottom, and let whoever is the Grand Marshal of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade ride it down Greenville every March.

    Obviously with someone on the other horse making clippity-cloppity noises with a coconut, a la Monty Python.

  • Herodotus

    Meanwhile, in the real world of the 21st Century, 7 out of 10 black babies are born illegitimately, black on black crime results in the genocide of young black men, and more “high school graduates” can name all the songs on Beyonce’ s new album, than just one of the protections granted in the 1st Amendment. You fools are being played

    • @zaccrain

      F O H

  • DubiousBrother

    Thank God – racism is dead in Dallas.

  • Fake news.

    • JamieT

      Gleichschaltung

  • Gerald Moore

    A great American has been trivialized by political selfishness. I am sad. Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna was correct when he agreed that those who are not students of history are destined to to relive it.

    • Leslie Baumann

      What a pathetic missed opportunity we had here in Dallas to be bold and tell a larger story. Removing all these monuments doesn’t erase the reprehensible nature of our past with regard to slavery. On the contrary, we should never forget or try to whitewash the facts of the past- what we COULD have done, was to create a learning opportunity for generations to come. We could have erected additional statues and monuments expressing the abolitionists movement, freedom fighters and the civil rights movement. We could have created a place where people could come together and have real conversations and understanding. But because of knee jerk reactionary council members who make emotional decisions based on fear ( fear of disgusting white supremacists and fear of being labeled racist) now we will inevitably have a nondescript park with a meaningless name. We could have changed the name to something signifying the healing of our nation. I hope this scenario doesn’t keep repeating itself. Each and every time it does, it is a missed opportunity to put these historical figures into context. Yes, slavery happened, yes, there was a civil war- we can’t change history. But we CAN make a statement today with the perspective and respect that we as a society now have, to proclaim that it was evil and wrong and we are not proud of it. We could say this is the history of our nation, now here’s the rest of the story.

      • Happy Bennett

        This nasty, destructive, pointless but expensive move was made just to show you who is in charge of Dallas and the region these days. The city council and publicity hungry and useless tool of a mayor just want your tax dollars and for you to otherwise let the violations of your personal perspective happen and shut up and go away. No one is bringing back “slavery”, No one condones “slavery”. I’ve lived here for 40 years and never met a “racist” or “white supremacist”. Property owners and tax payers are now enslaved by a much more insidious bunch. They don’t want to “have a conversation” or “come together” with you. This is not about mutual “respect” or “proclaiming that slavery etc was evil and wrong”. The frustrated city “leaders” and their media and anarchist allies want to kick you around, because they can. Will it “keep on repeating itself”? Of course it will and it will get worse.

        • Leslie Baumann

          I admire your prolific use of quotation marks and don’t disagree with everything you say, however, I find your statement that you have lived here for 40 years and have never met a racist a rather preposterous claim. I am a 49 year old white woman and I have met several racists in my lifetime. If you haven’t, then you are one lucky individual. Regardless of the city’s specious agenda this situation, I still think that my idea is a noble and viable one.

          • Happy Bennett

            I adhere to the actual definition of racist. I have never met anyone who actively hates and wishes to destroy or otherwise harm a GROUP of people based upon their sexual preferences, DNA, ethnicity, or religious background. If individuals have isolated personality or legal conflicts, that does not qualify as racism or bigotry to me. Your idea may have had merit, it’s too bad that the elected officials decided to treat any alternative solutions in a shabby and off hand way.