Whenever we bring up the dismantling of the Confederate War Memorial in downtown, or when we talked about taking down the Robert E. statue in Oak Lawn, inevitably someone jumps into the comments talking about how it’s a slippery slope and we’re erasing history and “Jesus IS next.” It happened this morning, in fact. Now, I would never go that far. I doubt anyone is looking to de-Jesus Dallas or anywhere else. And I don’t think it’s really a slippery slope, either. It’s more of a relatively friction-free surface, and I would like to take advantage of that by re-upping an idea others have had in the past: changing street names, specifically the ones named after Confederates and members of the Ku Klux Klan.
The former explicitly fought a war for the right to subjugate another race and lost. The latter, the KKK members, are just losers. They deserve nothing, definitely nothing close to honor. It is a stain on our city that it had so many members of the Klan at one point; that’s not something I think we should have ever memorialized.
Look at this map. We are not talking about little out of the way places. This is the core of the city. Reagan Street, Lee Parkway, Lemmon Avenue, Cabell Drive, Junius Street, Gaston Avenue, Peak Street, Young Street, Good Latimer Expressway, Gano Street, Ervay Street, Stonewall Street. Ditch them all. Name them after plants or trees or animals or if you really need people, let’s go with, I don’t know, former Mavericks greats. They never should have been named after these people in the first place and you can’t really put them into context. That’s a lot of plaques.
Now, before you jump in with, “Hey, Zac, you know the Civil War wasn’t fought over slavery,” I’m sorry to inform you it very much was. You can yell all you want in the comments but it will not change that fact. And if you try to “what about” the issue by coming up with some other street named after some other person who was bad — I’m assuming it will be someone that you classify as a “lefty” — guess what? I’m totally down with changing those, too. I’ve said many times that the only properly named street in Dallas is Nowitzki Way. The rest can go.
I was reminded of how prevalent and how centrally located these streets are when a friend mentioned he had been emailing the city council to get them to change the name of Throckmorton Street, which runs through Oak Lawn. It is named for James Webb Throckmorton, who served in the Confederate army and later became governor of Texas, an office he was removed from for being “an impediment to Reconstruction.” So change it to Morton Street for former Cowboys quarterback Craig Morton and let’s keep it moving.