Cleburne arts complex wants to land Dallas' removed Robert E. Lee statue

City of Dallas staff spent time this week checking out potential future homes for the General Robert E. Lee statue removed earlier this year.

The council still has to vote on recommendations on what to do with the statue along with other symbols of the Confederacy in Dallas.

Alden Nellis has spent months trying to convince the City of Dallas to bring the Robert E. Lee statue to the J.N. Long Cultural Arts Complex in Cleburne.

A city task force has recommended loaning it to a location where it can be used to educate. Nellis, president of the arts complex, said Dallas city staff asked if they would display the background of the statue.

“Jennifer said, ‘Would you be agreeable to having the complete history, Jim Crow days, and all that?’ And I said absolutely, we would do the whole history,” Nellis said.

Nellis believes the 102-year-old former elementary school, turned arts complex, would be the perfect place. But he is aware of how divisive the statue has become for some. Dallas removed the statue in September amid a national uproar over what it symbolized.

Nellis says there are some in Cleburne who wouldn't welcome it. But he said for the majority, the confederacy is not an issue in a city named after a Confederate general within a county that is too.

“Nellis has been coming around and asking opinions and I said if you can do it, let’s do it,” said resident Robert McMinnville.

Dallas representatives told Nellis to expect an answer sometime in mid-January.

“I’ve been pretty positive for quite some time that we have a very good chance of getting it... but I’m overly optimistic sometimes,” Nellis said.

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