Emboldened white supremacists and Nazis have been ubiquitous of late. Nazi saluting, Tiki torch wielding, Confederate flag waving marchers descended upon Charlottesville, Virginia this weekend, where a statue of Robert E. Lee resides on the University of Virginia Campus. During the fracas, a man with white supremacist leanings plowed his car into a group of counter-protestors, killing one and injuring 19.
Our city has its own Robert E. Lee statue in Lee Park near Uptown, which has been a point of controversy of late. Dallasites might be wondering or worrying how long it will be until the same sort of conflict bubbles up here.
Dallas politicians have been in support of removing two monuments in particular. Lee Park, which has a statue of Lee and a replica of his plantation home, and the Confederate War Memorial in downtown Dallas near the Convention Center.
Mayor Rawlings has asked city leaders what should be done about the monuments, as tension mounts around the issue.
In an interview with NBCDFW, City Councilman Philip Kingston said saving these monuments has nothing to do with preserving history.
“This issue is not about history, it’s not about the Confederacy, it’s about racists in Dallas trying to create a distorted picture of history for the purpose of preserving their ability to discriminate.”
Dallas ISD has several schools named for Confederate figures, too. The district is made up of 95 percent minority students. Miguel Solis, a Dallas ISD trustee, tweeted, “It’s past time to change the name of all confederate schools in @dallasschools. Looking for leaders to join me in making the change.”
Certain leaders supported changing the name, but it isn’t clear whether there is public support for such a move in a city where one in three eligible men were once members of the KKK.
A Dallas Morning News online poll asks readers what should be done with the monuments. The most popular response is to keep the Confederate monuments and memorials as they are, with nearly 34 percent. About 30 percent of respondents would like the monuments moved to a museum, and only 21 percent said the monuments should be removed.
Krista Tartoni, a parent who lives in the Robert E. Lee attendance zone, started a petition to change the names of Stonewall Elementary and Lee Elementary. Needless to say, she was disappointed with the response. Tartoni only garnered 164 signatures to her petition.
No action has yet been taken towards the removal of any statues or monuments. What do you think should happen?