An homage to Confederate heritage, or relics of a lost rebellion?
That question is at the center of the ongoing debate in Dallas over whether the city's Confederate monuments should continue standing or be removed from public spaces.
A protest Thursday in front of the Confederate Memorial downtown drew people from both sides.
"To me it's history. It's a part of the Americas and for them to say '(The Confederacy) fought on the wrong side of history,' they weren't there to determine that. My family did what they thought was right," said a man carrying the Confederate flag who would only identify himself as Daniel.
Nearly two dozen protesters stood in solidarity before the memorial imploring city leaders to tear them down. The group included members of the clergy and academics.
"The message of these monuments was one of defiance. These monuments rose as Jim Crow laws straight-jacketed African-Americans," said Dr. Michael Phillips, a Dallas historian.
Phillips created a petition calling for the removal of Confederate monuments from public spaces in Dallas and for Dallas ISD schools named after Confederate icons to be changed.
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Phillips has gotten the attention of several Dallas City Council members.
"We're about equality, not about revering a past in which people of color have no voice. That moral voice should carry the day," he said.
NBC 5 asked every council member whether the monuments should come down.
Only council members Phillip Kingston, Omar Narvaez, Mark Clayton, and Casey Thomas responded. They all said the monuments should come down.
Mayor Mike Rawlings said any decision should be based on public input, but the city has already started gathering information, including information on the process to remove some of the monuments.
Festus Allock, whose family history traces back to the Confederate Army, feels that removing those statues is the same as telling someone their history does not matter.
"This is our heritage. It's our history. Leave it be," he said. "We've got no problem if you all want to erect monuments to your heritage and history. That's the way it works out."