A state trooper stands guard during a protest by the Confederate Monument in downtown Dallas. Photo by James Coreas.

Local News

Dallas Isn’t Done Dealing With Its Confederate Monuments

Months after the removal of a Robert E. Lee statue, City Council is set this week to again pick up the debate over what to do with Dallas' remaining Confederate monuments.

After months of heated debate that culminated with the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue in Oak Lawn last year, the city seemingly pumped the brakes on plans to immediately address Dallas’ other Confederate monuments, including a memorial downtown and street names throughout the city.

That debate is set to pick up where it left off this week, as the City Council on Wednesday will be briefed on city staff’s recommendations of what to do with public reminders of the Confederacy. These recommendations, put together by members of the city’s office of cultural affairs, as well as the parks and recreation and sustainable development departments, diverge in some ways from the suggestions of a task force formed last year to address the same questions. Any decision will ultimately lie with the City Council.

City staff and the task force agree on what should be the fate of the Lee statue, presently stowed away at a Naval Air Station in Grand Prairie: Loan Lee to the Texas Civil War Museum in White Settlement, displaying the general with historical context. Relocating the statue to the museum would cost an estimated $75,000, with another $125,000 toward removing the granite base and surrounding steps that held the statue in the Oak Lawn park that formerly bore Lee’s name. City staff did, however, tell the Dallas Morning News that the museum and private donors may help pay for moving costs. Plan B is to sell the statue “via a fine art auction house.” Its appraised value, if you’re wondering, the city puts at $950,000.

The biggest split here is on what to do with the Confederate memorial downtown. The task force recommended its removal. City staff would see it stay, but with new signs that give it historical context. This is partly recommended to save money ($25,000 for signage vs. more than $400,000 for removal), and partly because of the difficulties in removing the work without destroying it.

The recommendations are in sync on Fair Park. Add context to the art there, and commemorate the “Hall of Negro Life,” a building and exhibition hall featured at the Texas Centennial Exposition of 1936 and later razed. City staff put the price tag for this between $50,000 and $200,000.

As for the street names, city staff is on board with changing the name of Lee Parkway, named as it is for a Confederate general with no ties to Dallas. Richard Montgomery Gano and William Lewis Cabell were also Confederate soldiers, but each man later made notable civic contributions to Dallas—the briefing recommends leaving Gano Street and Cabell Drive alone.

Along with some other odds and ends, there’s at least one recommendation for a new memorial: A Texas Historical Marker downtown at the site where, in 1910, a black man named Allen Brooks was hanged by a mob in an act of “racial terror.”

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Comments

  • RompingWillyBilly

    As it is always a matter of opinion, the city should get out of the business of art altogether. Indeed, surely there is a more economical way to waste tax payer money.

    • bmslaw

      You mean like bribing profitable corporations to move to town? Or subsidizing gun merchants to convene in our fair city?

      • Yu So Wong

        Or car shows. Cars kill more people than guns.

      • RompingWillyBilly

        Outside of natural rights, there is no other right. Think about it. A legal right has both a black and white interpretation. Indeed, the reason they call it the Supreme Court is because both Congress and the Administration also have their own courts. As Congress can pass a white law, the Presidency can administer black policies. In turn, the Supreme Court can judge the law as unconstitutionally purple.
        In contrast, a natural right is stamped indelibly onto our souls. It is unalienable as it is God breathed. It can’t be taken away.
        People are going to guard themselves just as mothers are going to take care of their children. Now, the government can persecute the people by intervening in their business.

      • shrubstex
    • Yu So Wong

      You are right. So long as the USA is judging past notable people according to present standards and mores, any statutes erected now will likely be found to be distasteful when considered by the standards of the next century. A future vegan civilization might find everyone in this time who ate a Big Mac or a chicken sandwich to be a criminal.

      • RompingWillyBilly

        Indeed, as the hot pink liberal communists are in power of Dallas today, the baby blue conservative capitalists could take charge tomorrow. Between the two, all of Dallas history is being abolished. Either the art is deemed N-word disgusting on one hand or filthy racist on the other.

      • shrubstex
    • shrubstex
  • shrubstex

    I think the residents of the Mayfair should vote on changing the name of Lee Parkway. It is a shame to forget Peggy Lee, Brenda Lee, or Ruta Lee. Talk about an unneeded name change. There are some who even think that Greek Revival Architecture is racist.

  • RompingWillyBilly

    Literary history you mean. The good protagonist guys versus the bad antagonist guys. Before the civil war, the north tried screwing the south during the war of 1812. Great Britain had brought the United States to its knees economically with a naval blockage. They couldn’t get word out to New Orleans about the treachery to stop the battle from happening in the south. Andrew Jackson won the war in spite of this manipulation by north winning with an assortment of white trash, blacks, Mexicans, and Native Americans and a navy made up of pirates. I guess we should scrap that history too in place of movie history made up of mythical comic book figures. I’m sure if we had lost that war that that the south would still be a territory split between England and New England.

  • tom2

    To save cost, just hang a heavy-duty shroud over them. And place a sandwich sign over the shroud with the words:

    OFFENSIVE STATUARY
    CONCEALED BY
    DALLAS CITY COUNCIL MEMBER
    DWAINE CARAWAY

    and followed by the date. Let history judge Robert E. Lee against the politician who didn’t like him.

  • PeterTx52

    will D Magazine call for the renaming of a certain East Dallas High School that is named after a rabid racist and segregationist. if not then you are not being honest about healing the racial divide in this city

  • Reed Lannom

    In Washington, D.C., wherever you walk you’ll come across monuments
    to the men who conquered the South. There are statues of Gen. William Tecumseh
    Sherman (erected 1896), Gen. Philip Sheridan (1908), Gen. George B. McClellan (1907),
    Gen. John Logan (1901), Gen. Winfield Scott (1896), Gen. U.S. Grant (1920), and
    Admiral David Farragut (1881) among others. Many of the public spaces are named
    after Union fighting men – Logan Circle, Dupont Circle, and Farragut Square. Those
    statues – 16 Union statues or memorials in D.C. alone – remind you that a very important
    context has been missing from the emotionally loaded debate about Confederate
    memorials. And, if you visit the battlefield at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, where
    1,300 statues, markers and monuments stand – almost all of them (more than
    1,200) are devoted to the Union cause. The statue of Gen. George Meade was
    erected in 1895, the statue of Gen. Winfield Hancock in 1896, the New York
    State Memorial in 1893 and the Pennsylvania Memorial in 1910. Also, the grandiose,
    gold-clad Sherman statue on New York’s Fifth Avenue, designed by famous
    sculptor Augustus Saint-Gaudens was erected in 1902. An even more famous
    Saint-Gaudens statue on Boston Commons, commemorating Union Colonel Robert
    Gould Shaw and the black troops he led, was erected in 1897. And the elaborate
    Soldiers and Sailors Monuments in Troy, New York (1890) and in Buffalo, New
    York (1882); Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Arch in Brooklyn (1892); Soldiers and
    Sailors Monuments in Manhattan (1902) and Syracuse, New York (1910). In
    Chicago’s Grant Park (renamed for the General in 1901) is the large equestrian
    statue of Maj General John A Logan dedicated in 1897; and, in Delphi and
    Indianapolis, Indiana are two of the most ornate Union monuments called the
    Soldiers and Sailors Monuments, both built in 1888 by famous sculptor Bruno
    Schmitz. More Union Soldiers and Sailors Monuments are in Davenport and Des Moines,
    Iowa, built by architects/ sculptors R. J. Carver and Carl Rohl-Smith in 1881
    and 1896. Sherman, Grant, Ulysses and McPherson Counties in Kansas were named
    for the Union Generals in 1873, 1888, 1885 and 1917. In Dayton and Cleveland, Ohio are the Soldiers and Sailors Monuments built in 1884 and 1894; and, Gen. Phillip Sheridan’s equestrian
    statue (Somerset, Ohio) was built in 1905 by famous sculptor Carl Heber.

  • Reed Lannom

    If today’s social
    justice warriors’ premise were true that Confederate monuments are all about white
    supremacy; than all the Union monuments cited below that were built between
    1880-1920, during the same exact time (look at the dates they were built!) as
    the Confederate monuments – should be torn down too because of the North’s
    white supremacist crimes listed below (especially since Abraham Lincoln himself
    said during the Hampton Roads Peace Conference that the peoples of both the
    North & South were equally responsible for slavery!):

    The “free-soil”
    movement and the North’s moniker “free states” had nothing to do with racial
    magnanimity and equality. The North was concerned first and foremost with
    protecting the “rights of whites” by keeping the land and resources of the
    Midwestern and Plains states reserved exclusively for white settlers; and, free
    from all encroachment by white slave owners, black slaves and black freedmen,
    that introducing slavery into the region would have allowed.

    Northern investors and leaders sought a
    mercantile oligopoly over the Western territories (to facilitate free land for
    whites and protect free labor of whites in the West, to the exclusion of both
    slavery and black freedmen).

    Northern Black Codes (Northern Exclusion
    Ordinances) refused black freedmen residency, citizenship, voting rights and
    employment – Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Iowa, Minnesota,
    Kansas, California, Oregon, Colorado and New Mexico were unwilling to take a
    single additional person of color.

    The New England maritime industry was the
    primary facilitator of the North American slave trade during the entire history
    of slavery in the USA (by contrast, the South’s maritime industry was
    nonexistent).

    Northern banks, insurance companies,
    manufacturers, textile mills, brokerage houses, transatlantic shipping
    companies – financed, supported and indemnified slavery in the South up until
    the Civil War.

    “We do not like the
    Negroes. We do not disguise our dislike. As my friend from Indiana (Mr. Wright)
    said yesterday: ‘The whole people of the Northwestern States are opposed to
    having many Negroes among them and that principle or prejudice has been
    engraved in the legislation for nearly all the Northwestern States.’” Senator
    John Sherman of Ohio, floor of the U.S. Senate, 4/2/1862 (brother of General
    William T Sherman).

  • shrubstex