Dallas’ Monuments To The Confederacy May Be Standing On Borrowed Time And Mayor Mike Rawlings Seems Open To Bringing Them Down.
Dallas’ monuments to the Confederacy may be coming down soon.
Well, maybe not that soon, but it sure sounds like Mayor Mike Rawlings wouldn’t be opposed to their removal.
“I’m careful about espousing my point of view too much but not ashamed to do it,” Rawlings was quoted as saying by the Dallas Morning News. “Slavery was the greatest sin that America ever participated in and we need to appropriately own up to that and move beyond it.”
Rawlings added that it was “concerning” to see tributes to the Confederacy in public spaces.
But in the 1920s, it wasn’t uncommon to see people honoring the Confederacy and white supremacy out in the open, as one out of every three eligible men in Dallas was active in the Klu Klux Klan. The State Fair of Texas even had a designated Klu Klux Klan Day.
You don’t even have to look that far into the city’s past to see relics of America’s history with slavery. Even today, the city continues to struggle with segregation, sometimes based on income but also sometimes based squarely on racial wealth disparity.
Granted, these are obviously issues that the city can’t fix with a broad brushstroke or some quote from the mayor, but cosmetic changes of monuments with sordidly racist pasts could be a step in the right direction.
Last year, those steps started to come as students at what was then known as John B. Hood Middle School voted to drop the Confederate general’s name from their school.
But as New Orleans recently learned, the removal of public Confederate homages doesn’t come always come as easily it did for those DISD students. After mayor Mitch Landrieu convinced his city council to spend $2.1 million to rid New Orleans of four monuments to the Confederacy, the first contractor hired for the gig saw his car set on fire by the Confederate faithful.
As Dallas’ mayor and council ponder following suit, they’re no doubt hoping for less backlash. Here’s a list of the publicly listed Confederate monuments in Dallas that could soon be no more.
John H. Reagan Elementary. John H. Reagan served as the postmaster general in Jefferson Davis’ presidential cabinet. Reagan Elementary, which sits just southwest of the heart of Bishop Arts, currently has a close to 100 percent Latino student population, according to DISD’s school stats.
Robert E. Lee Elementary. Named after the South’s greatest general, Lee Elementary sits in the Lower Greenville area of Dallas. Lee took control of the Confederate forces in 1865 and ultimately surrendered at Appomattox Courthouse that same year.
Stonewall Jackson Elementary. Also sitting in East Dallas, this school is named after the Southern general’s nickname instead of his full name, Thomas Jonathon Jackson. Jackson earned the name “Stonewall” after the battle of First Manassas.
Albert Sidney Johnston Elementary. This elementary school is named after the highest-ranking officer – from either side – to be killed during the Civil War. Johnston had also previously fought in conflicts like the Texas Revolution and the Mexican-American war.
Confederate War Memorial at Pioneer Park Cemetery. The Confederate War Memorial features statues of four of most famous faces of the Confederate States of America – Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, “Stonewall” Jackson and Albert Sidney Johnston. It sits directly across from the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center. (Update: It’s done.)
Robert E. Lee Park. The Confederate general is clearly a favorite of Dallas’ older generations. Five members of the Dallas Confederate Skinheads were convicted for hate crimes after patrolling the park and threatening Black and Hispanic park-goers. The park features a statue of galant Lee mounted on horse, leading Confederate soldiers. (Update: The park has been renamed and the statue sold at auction.)
Confederate War Cemetery. The cemetery is located in the Fair Park/South Dallas area. It holds the graves of Confederate veterans and some of their family members, according to the Dallas Genealogical Society. The cemetery is listed as an official city park and is maintained by city workers.
Confederate Medallion. The star attraction in the The Great Hall at Fair Park features the six nations that claimed at one point or another: Mexico, France, Spain, The Republic of Texas, U.S., and of course, the Confederate States of America.
The Confederacy Statue at Fair Park. Standing around the Fair Park promenade, the Confederacy sculpture was one of six statues commissioned for the Texas Centennial Exposition 1936. Like the medallion, it represents one of the six nations that governed Texas before it the state was integrated to the U.S.