Growing support for keeping a Confederate Monument downtown was apparent Wednesday at the latest Dallas City Council briefing on the extremely controversial topic.
After months of debate and a Mayor’s Task Force recommendation last year to remove the monument from Pioneer Cemetery beside the Dallas Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, the staff of City Manager T.C. Broadnax Friday issued a recommendation to keep it there but add new displays on African American history and the Civil War.
Mayor Mike Rawlings spoke in support of that plan Wednesday.
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City Councilman Phil Kingston argued that a 13 to 2 Council resolution last year also instructed the staff to remove the monument, as was done at the time with a statue of Robert E. Lee in Uptown.
“This is not unlike the President ignoring Congress,” Kingston said. “It is quite obviously an object of shame and it needs to be removed. That’s the substantive problem we have today.”
Councilman Omar Narvaez said the monument was moved years ago to the current location but no interest has been expressed in taking it now.
“It has been moved before. It could be moved again, and it sounds like nobody wants it,” he said. “And so we’re fighting over, how do we keep it, when nobody wants it.”
Councilman Lee Kleinman said Jews would be horrified if symbols of the Holocaust remained in Dallas.
“I’m fully supportive of removing these glorifications,” Kleinman said.
Several public speakers supported leaving the monument in place, including David Preziosi with Preservation Dallas.
“This is in line with the National Trust for Preservation and the Atlanta History Center in dealing with such monuments,” he said.
Mayor Rawlings said he envisions a world class outdoor museum that tells the story of how Dallas moved from the days of White Supremacy to the city it is today.
“How could we become this sort of people from this sort of history? And that’s the thing I’m most interested in trying to understand. How we do it,” Rawlings said
Dallas City Councilman Dwaine Caraway who supported removing the monument in September said Wednesday he is willing to consider compromise.
“We will negotiate and talk and make some concrete decisions,” Caraway said. “I’m always open for compromise but at the end of the day the final vote will be what is right for us to do.”
Broadnax recommended sending the Lee Statute, which is in storage now, to a Civil War Museum in White Settlement. Also still up for debate is renaming the street named Lee Parkway near the former statue location, renaming Confederate Cemetery near Fair Park and adding a marker near Akard and Main Street where an African American Man was once lynched.
Mayor Rawlings said City Council votes on each of the Confederate issues will come in the next few weeks.