What The Mayor's Task Force Says Dallas Should Do With Its Confederate Symbols
It’s up to the Dallas City Council to decide the fate of the city’s Confederate symbols.
The council is expected to vote early next year; the city's Cultural Affairs Commission endorsed a series of recommendations this week made by a task force appointed by Mayor Mike Rawlings. Here's what those actions would do.
The task force, chaired by consultant and United Methodist pastor Frances Cudjoe-Waters, presented its recommendations to the Public Art Committee and the Cultural Affairs Commission this week. Both unanimously agreed.
“The monuments have become proxy for so many other feelings and emotions on both sides," Cudjoe-Waters said. "We wanted them placed someplace where there could be some kind of context and educational discussion.”
Here's how the Mayor's Task Force on Confederate Monuments advises the city to tackle the controversial issue.
Robert E. Lee statue in Oak Lawn Park
Recommendation: Put the statue and its base on long-term loan or donate it to a museum, educational institution or educational site in North Texas. Last month, it was removed from a park in Oak Lawn.
Recommendation: Change the name of Lee Park. It was reverted to Oak Lawn Park on Sept. 22.
Confederate War Memorial in Pioneer Park
Recommendation: Remove the Confederate monument in Pioneer Park Cemetery and put it on long-term loan or donate it to a museum, educational institution or educational site in North Texas.
Recommendation: Change the cemetery's name; the Dallas Park Board would make a decision on a new name.
Confederate references in Fair Park
Recommendation: Leave architecture and historic art featuring Confederate references in place, but add appropriate signs, digital tour guides and/or educational programming to provide full historical context of "the Civil War, Reconstruction, the Lost Cause mythology, the Jim Crow Era and the creation of Fair Park for the 1936 Texas Centennial."
Context should also include the contribution, participation and exclusion of Mexicans, Tejanos and indigenous peoples in Texas history. The Dallas Park and Recreation Department and Landmark Commission should work with Dallas Historical Society on this.
Recommendation: The parks department, commission and historical society should also work with the African American Museum and the Public Art Committee to add “substantive commemoration” of the Hall of Negro Life in Fair Park and recognition of the Jim Crow Era and South Dallas Bombings.
Recommendation: The city should try to return or recreate murals that once occupied the Hall of Negro Life.
For Dallas park names nearing expiration, the task force recommends consideration of “historical abolitionists, formerly enslaved, civil and human rights leaders, people from marginalized and underrepresented communities, and victims of police brutality.”
"We found through the research 21 [street names] in the city of Dallas that had links to the Confederacy," Cudjoe-Waters said. "We decided that we would recommend that just three of those names, which we thought were the most egregious and the most recognizable in connection to the Confederacy, be changed. The cost for each street was actually less than $1,600 each."
The group recommends the process be completed on a "priority basis" within 90 days. And the open comment part of the process should include “voices of people throughout the city whose ideas and testimony shall be given equal weight with those of adjacent property owners.”
- Paid local and regional artists, architects, preservationists and historians should lead this process.
- City should erect a marker at Akard and Main streets memorializing lynching of Allen Brooks.
- City should create a “racial equity policy after public acknowledgement and apology for the policies and practices of the City that have furthered institutional racism and segregation.”
You can read the task force’s report:
(Learn more about the task force on the city's dedicated site.)