Confederate Monument Debate Returns to Dallas City Hall

Monument remained through nearly 2 years of delay on what to do with it

The bitter fight over what to do with the Confederate Monument in Pioneer Cemetery beside the Dallas Convention Center returns to City Hall Wednesday after nearly two years of putting it off.

A City Council briefing offers three options; remove it, keep the monument and add context about the civil war or do nothing.

Two activists who fought to remove the monument two years ago are disappointed to see it still standing.

"Is this a celebration of what we value as a city? If it remains erect, then we have our answer," said Reverend Michael Waters of Faith Tabernacle AME Church.

He and Imam Omar Suleiman of Yaqeen Institute for Islamic Research practice different faiths. But they say their unity on this topic demonstrates the kind of city Dallas can be.

"What we represent in our work is the future of what this country can be like," Suleiman said. "And in order to get to that future collectively, we have to be willing to tear down these symbols of the past."

A 2017 Dallas City Council vote said Confederate Monuments are against city policy.

A statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee was immediately removed in Uptown Dallas.

There was a strong backlash against Mayor Mike Rawlings and several City Council Members who supported removing the statue.

An organization called Conservative Response Team ran radio ads targeting Council Member Jennifer Gates.

Supporters of the monuments spoke at city meetings and community demonstrations, insisting that the monuments represent history and not racism and that they should not be removed.

Action on the downtown monument was delayed.

"Its White Supremacy hiding in plain sight and it is a signal to our city that we really have not moved very far past the racist ideals that served as our foundation," Waters said.

No City Council vote is scheduled Wednesday but Council Member reaction to the briefing could signal how the issue will be handled in 2019.

Removing the monument or adding context features beside it could require additional approval from other City Advisory Commissions, which would mean further delay. Wednesday’s briefing says removing and storing the monument could cost $480,000.

The Lee Statue is still in storage since no new location has been found that would accept it.

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