This statue of Robert E. Lee overlooks Lee Park in Dallas. Could removing this statue celebrating a controversial Confederate leader hurt Turtle Creek real estate?
[Editor’s Note: This post reflects the opinion of the writer and should not be interpreted as the editorial position of CandysDirt.com.]
I lived in Dallas for at least 10 years when I asked someone, “Who is Lee Park named after?” I assumed it was a great city forefather.
Robert E. Lee, I was told; the man who surrendered to Union troops in the bitter War Between the States, the only civil war in U.S. history.
Now, a movement that is growing like a snowball rolling down a mountainside — and crescendoed Saturday night at an anti-hate rally reportedly attended by thousands in front of Dallas City Hall — wants our city to rid itself of Lee Park’s eponymous statue. Duke University removed their statutes yesterday. However, this is also not an overnight movement: some Dallas City Council members have been working on a removal since last April.
I’m not sure if changing the name of the park will follow. The statue was built in Dallas during the Depression in 1936, when the Civil War was well over. Though the war ended, deeply rooted racism was not wiped out with Lee’s unconditional surrender at Appomatox Courthouse in 1865.
I’m not a native Southerner, so I have to wonder why the statue was erected in the first place. This is not Lee’s hometown; he was a native of Virginia. After Virginia, Texas has the largest collection of Robert E. Lee monuments in the nation.
Why look up to a man who fought to let human beings own other human beings?
And last week, Jennifer Staubach Gates, City Councilwoman in District 13, who is making a lot of mayoral-like noise, wrote her conservative, wealthy constituents that the statue must come down:
My office has received a number of inquiries about the removal of Confederate statues in the City of Dallas, so I want to be clear on my position.
I strongly support the removal of these statues. Symbols of white supremacy, neo-Nazis, the KKK or other hate groups are unacceptable and must be removed from public spaces that serve all of our citizens, including our public schools. The issue should not be whether or not they are removed, but rather the process of how they are removed, and I look forward to an open dialog on moving forward.
The sooner we complete this process and remove these unacceptable symbols in public spaces, the stronger we will be as a City. If you have questions about this issue or thoughts on the process, please feel free to contact my office.