The City of Dallas will continue to take on the issue of Confederate monuments, art work and city streets named for Confederate figures this week.
One of the sticking points may be the future of The Confederate Monument located in Pioneer Cemetery, which is next to the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center and down the street from City Hall.
“It is what welcomes our visitors, it is what welcomes our residents and to have racist propaganda beaming high in the public square in two very important locations in the City of Dallas is just unconscionable to me,” said Sara Mokuria, one of the members of the Mayor’s Task Force on Confederate Monuments appointed to look at the issue and make recommendations last year.
The group recommended the Robert E. Lee Statue in Lee Park be taken down and the park name changed to Oak Lawn Park.
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The city council agreed and made the changes last September.
The Task Force issued several other recommendations, including moving the Confederate Monument to a museum.
City staff then took a look at those recommendations and recently issues their own, recommending the monument stay where it is with new signs to explain its history.
Barvo Walker, a sculptor and another task force member, says he agrees the monument should stay put with new signage.
“I think it should say this represents a period in the United States we’re not particularly proud of, but it happened,” said Walker.
He says he also disagreed with moving the Robert E. Lee statue last year, mainly because the sculpture who made is a notable artist.
Walker says the Confederate Monument doesn’t have the same artistic value, though he says he would not agree with moving it.
“You can not change history by moving a monument,” said Walker. “Not one person, when a monument is moved, is better off. Not one person makes more money. Not one person has a better life.”
The city’s Office of Cultural Affairs Director told NBC 5 the monument would be difficult to move. The concrete around it wouldn’t support a crane and it’s located in a historic cemetery. Many of the grave markers go back to the 1800s.
But the monument has been moved in the past. Although it’s inscription shows it was dedicated in 1896, it used to stand in a different park but was moved in 1961 to make way for construction of Interstate 30.
Mokuria says if it was moved at that time, it should be possible to move it again.
She says the symbolism of the monument next to the convention center is what concerns her.
“We have the opportunity at this moment to do something right to take it down,” said Mokuria. “The City of Dallas just needs to finish the job.”
The City Council would have to make the final decision. The council will be briefed on Wednesday at 9 a.m. No vote is expected this week.