Dallas committee recommends moving Confederate monuments

Efforts to wipe Confederate monuments out of public spaces in Dallas took the next step.

The Dallas Public Art Committee formally recommended the relocation of both the Robert E. Lee statue and the Confederate monument at Pioneer Plaza.

Ultimately, Tuesday night was just another step in the food chain that is local government. They were recommendations, but more bodies will have to weigh in on what happens with the monuments. The discussion though did shed light on the permanent future of the items.

Alden Nellis traveled from Cleburne, not to admonish city officials over relocating the Robert E. Lee statue, but to ask Dallas to give it to Cleburne. He's president of a group that owns a cultural arts center in the city.Nellis traveled from Cleburne, not to admonish city officials over relocating the Robert E. Lee statue, but to ask Dallas to give it to Cleburne. He's president of a group that owns a cultural arts center in the city.

“We are interested in having this statue in Cleburne if they decide to remove it somewhere else,” he said.

While the Dallas Public Art Committee wasn't deciding specifically where the statue will go, it did make its recommendations.

The committee adopted the Confederate Monument Task Force’s thoughts and recommended both the Robert E. Lee statue, which is already in storage, and the still-standing Confederate monument at Pioneer Park to go via loan or donation to an educational site or museum in North Texas.

“Art in the public square is sort of a celebration or revelation about society's values, what they celebrate, what they deem to be worthy of putting a monument up for,” said Frances Waters, chair of the mayor’s task force.

While the committee believes the monuments should go, it agreed with the task force that five pieces of art at Fair Park with Confederate ties should stay, but with historical context be added to the pieces.

“Think this puts us in a position to have Dallas kind of leading the way on how best to do this as these conversations happen nationally,” said Erica Stephens with art committee.

“I intend to come to all the meetings between now and then and to that one especially,” said Nellis.

One commissioner asked city officials if they have talked about how to remove the Pioneer Parkway monument since it is much larger than the Lee statue. Officials say they haven't had a formal engineering report, but a conservator determined it could be removed without deteriorating.

As for the next steps, the cultural affairs commission will take the matter up Thursday afternoon. The city council would then handle it at some point after that.

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