Yesterday, the statue that greeted travelers at Love Field—One Riot, One Ranger, which depicts Texas Ranger Sgt. Jay Banks—was removed. Perhaps you were wondering how the airport managed to do it so quickly and quietly, given that the removal of statues honoring Robert E. Lee and other Confederate soldiers led to protracted battles that, in the latter case, at least, are still being waged. And perhaps you were also wondering: what happens next?
I was, too. As for the how, it is laid out here. It’s pretty short, but the shorter version is: the Aviation Director has the right, according to Dallas City Code, to “promulgate rules and to supervise and direct the use, operation, and maintenance” of the airport and its related properties and “in a manner that will provide the most efficient, safe, and economical use of the properties in serving the public interest.” In other words, if people are going to protest the statue, it will make it difficult to operate the airport, and that falls under the purview of the Aviation Director.
As for what happens next, I tried to call Jennifer Scripps, director of the city’s Office of Cultural Affairs, earlier today, but her voicemail was full. I reached her by email, and our brief exchange follows.
What are the next steps? As you know, the statue was only removed to storage a couple of days ago, but we plan to have the Public Art Committee and Arts and Culture Advisory Commission do their work of formulating recommendations on how to address this piece in our collection. It would then be considered by City Council’s Quality of Life, Arts and Culture Committee and the full Council.
Can the City Council decide to bring it back? Yes—they can bring it back into public view, but with respect to that exact location, I am actually not sure—because the Director of Love Field has concerns about its location near the TSA check-point.
If so, will there be some education component, putting it into context? This is what our future work will consider as part of the overall recommendations. Our exhaustive research on this piece as well as the history of Texas Rangers more broadly has just begun.
If not, will it be auctioned off? Again, TBD! Although people have already reaching out wanting to buy it!