Politics & Government

The Robert E. Lee Statue Was Nearly Erected at SMU

The city almost dodged this bullet. Shame.

Peter Simek wrote for us yesterday about the troubles that workmen had trying to take down the statue of Robert E. Lee that stands in the eponymous park. Oops. Then, of course, came the TRO. Now who knows how many bad actors are on their way to Dallas to create problems for our citizenry and police department? I fear what the coming days hold for us. And this entire thing could have been someone else’s problem if the city hadn’t acquiesced to the pushy group that was behind the statue. An alert FrontBurnervian sends along this story from a 1936 edition of the Dallas Morning News:

Threats to Place Lee Monument in Suburb City Made
Unless Located in Oak Lawn Park Say It to Be Out of City

Unless the Park Board agrees to have the Robert E. Lee memorial located in Oak Lawn Park it will be set up outside the city limits, probably at Southern Methodist University, city officials were notified Tuesday by Mrs. R.V. Rogers, chairman of the committee for the Southern Memorial Association.

Members of the Lee Memorial committee will not consent to Dealey Plaza as a location for the monument, Mrs. Rogers wrote the Park Board. Last week the group also said they would store the memorial before they would allow it to be placed at Centennial Park.

Declaring that a location must be found for the statue at once, since it is nearing completion, and the association hopes to have it in place by June 1, Mrs. Rogers requested “that you give us your final decision as to what you intend to do toward getting the Government funds diverted from Dealey Plaza to Oak Lawn Park, and when we may expect work to begin on the base.

“If we cannot get the location we want in Dallas we shall seek a location outside the city limits. We shall expect a definite reply from the Park Board in the next few days and shall hope for a favorable one.”

Jim Dan Sullivan, president of the board, said he would not consent to having the statue placed in Oak Lawn Park, where it would not be available to a majority of the people. He said he had received many letters and calls approving his stand and one letter was from a contributor to the Southern Memorial Association’s campaign to get money for the $40,000 statue.

The city had expected to spend $18,000 in preparing a base for the memorial, using part of their WPA program to get the work done. In addition, more than $20,000 has ben set aside in the program for landscaping the plaza, which is immediately east of the Commerce-Main-Elm underpass.

Mr. Sullivan said he received information Tuesday that plans are being made to place the memorial at SMU if it cannot be located in Oak Lawn Park.