Dallas' Confederate War Memorial Vandalized After City Council Votes to Remove It

Plan to remove statue will take time, must go through landmark commission

What to Know

  • Confederate War Memorial tagged with red spray paint on pedestal. City crews began cleaning the statue Monday morning.
  • City Council voted last week to remove the monument; because of it's historic designation, the Dallas Landmark Commission must approve.
  • Statue was installed in 1897 in Old City Park before being moved to Pioneer Cemetery in 1961.

A Confederate war monument at Dallas' Pioneer Parl Cemetery, recently approved for removal by the Dallas City Council, was vandalized over the weekend with red spray paint.

The vandal(s) covered the statue's pedestal in red paint, with the words appearing to say "Fun, F***, Trump, Freedom" on separate lines.

The Dallas Morning News reported city crews began cleaning the statue Monday morning and that the city is working with police to see if a camera affixed to the adjacent Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center recorded the vandal in action. However, City Councilman Rickey Callahan told the paper the statue was painted on the side that the cameras are not facing.

The paper described the war memorial as a 65-foot obelisk topped with a Confederate soldier and ringed by statues of Confederate leaders Jefferson Davis, Robert E. lee, Stonewall Jackson and Albert Johnston.  The memorial was originally installed in Old City Park in 1897 but was moved to the cemetery six decades later.

Last Wednesday the Dallas City Council voted 11-4 to remove the statue after passionate speeches by black members of the City Council about what kind of city Dallas should be.

It will take more than a City Council vote to remove the statue, however. The memorial is protected by a historic designation and removal would not happen immediately. It would now require review and approval by the Dallas Landmark Commission, which can be appealed to the Dallas Plan Commission since the monument and the location in the Pioneer Cemetery are both historic. The issue would then once again return to the City Council for a final decision, but Wednesday's vote is a very strong indication of what that final decision will be.

The four members who voted against the memorial's removal were Jennifer Gates, Rickey Callahan, Adam McGough and Sandy Greyson. They supported an alternative plan to add a new display beside the monument about slavery and the Civil War to put it in context.

Mayor Mike Rawlings voted in favor of that option in an initial 10-to-5 vote but changed sides in what he said was a show of unity, when it was obvious the majority wanted the monument removed.

Artist Lauren Wood, who has experience with such work, was recruited by city staff to consider a project that would "re-envision" the monument site in a new context.

Wednesday's vote came after a briefing on options for the monument last week.

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