Dallas puts off Confederate statue issue after 2017 removal
DALLAS (AP) — Dallas officials haven’t decided what to do with a statue of Robert E. Lee more than a year after the city removed it from a park formerly named after the Confederate general.
The city is keeping Alexander Phimister Proctor’s statue of Lee housed in storage at Hensley Field, the former Naval Air Station, until officials come up with a resolution. But Dallas officials said they’re first figuring out what to do with the Confederate War Memorial located near City Hall, The Dallas Morning News reported.
The Dallas City Council plans to consider the memorial issue in coming months, said Joey Zapata, assistant city manager. But the Lee statue is “not much of a priority right now for us,” Zapata said.
The Confederate general’s statue was removed from Lee Park in September 2017, following the deadly protests over the removal of a Lee statue in Charlottesville, Virginia. Dallas’ Lee Park has since been renamed Oak Lawn Park.
The push to remove the statue sparked a debate within the city over the symbols of Dallas’ Confederate past. Some argued that the Lee statue represents the South and is a part of the city’s history, while others called it a representation of racism and oppression.
A task force recommended in fall 2017 that the city preserve the Lee statue in a museum or educational site, but only one institution expressed interest, according to Jennifer Scripps, the head of Dallas’ Office of Cultural Affairs. Scripps said the Texas Civil War Museum in White Settlement, west of Fort Worth, reached out about the statue, but city staff deemed the venue inappropriate because of some of its representations of the Civil War.
Should the City Council take action on the Confederate War Memorial, it could prompt a decision about the Lee statue.
“But circumstances are completely different with both of them,” Zapata said, “and the more pressing issue is the monument next door.”
Another Confederate item in Texas is also facing removal.
The State Preservation Board, which Gov. Greg Abbott chairs, on Friday voted to remove a 60-year-old plaque in the state Capitol that rejects slavery as the underlying cause of the Civil War, bending after years of resistance by state Republican leaders in the face of Confederate monuments falling nationwide.
Information from: The Dallas Morning News, http://www.dallasnews.com