The Mayor Pro Tem for the City of Dallas, Dwaine Caraway, said that the 121-year-old historical Confederate War Memorial will be gone by the end of the year.
“They’ll be down before Christmas,” he told WFAA on Sunday about the monuments located next to Dallas City Hall in Pioneer Park.
Caraway, one of the city’s four black councilmen, addressed the fate of the Civil War display that features statues of Confederate States President Jefferson Davis and generals Robert E. Lee, Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, and Albert Sidney Johnston. The park, also a cemetery, houses graves of Dallas’ earliest settlers and civic leaders.
The recent violent protest in Charlottesville, Virginia, sparked the push in Dallas to remove Confederate-era monuments. On Friday night, vandals spray painted “Nazis” on another statue of Robert E. Lee in uptown Dallas. Subsequently, police increased their patrols in Lee Park to prevent further attacks. Then, anti-Confederacy protesters and activists at Saturday’s “Dallas Against White Supremacy” rally demanded that officials take down these monuments quickly.
While Caraway favors removing the Confederate statues, he emphasized “there is a process of making things equal” across the city and “healing Dallas.” He has said he wants people to trust the process, which also includes factors like costs, adhering to the city’s historical monument protection policy requirements, and evaluating procedures to remove or relocate the stone structures.
The mayor pro tem underscored the “problem goes deeper than just a statue,” pointing to “hidden racism that has not surfaced.”
Dallas has multiple monuments as well as streets named for Confederate war figures. “Where do they go?,” Caraway posed. “That is not something that just we, the city council, should make the decision on.”
He said the city council doesn’t “need to rush to get it done” because “we have to make sure that we’re making the right decisions.” He called the end result a “collective decision,” which includes the public. “We’ve got to hear from the people, as well.”
Caraway supported Mayor Mike Rawlings’ decision last week to create a task force that will study options for the monuments over a 90 day period and then offer guidance on how the city should move forward with uprooting its Confederate past. “This is not something you can just solve overnight. It is something we can assure the citizens of this city will take place,” said the mayor pro tem.
Two Dallas councilmen, Omar Narvaez and Philip Kingston, believe Dallas should remove its statues quickly. On Friday, the city’s four black councilmen held a press conference calling for all Confederate monuments on city owned parks to be removed, although they indicated moving through this process to the betterment of all superseded a time frame.
Breitbart Texas reported that Rawlings, when announcing the Mayor’s Task Force on Confederate Monuments,” dubbed the stone markers “monuments of propaganda” and “dangerous totems,” asserting they symbolize “racial injustices” of the past that “continue to haunt us” and hold the city back.
By Friday, he sped up the process. In a memo sent to council members, Rawlings outlined a “tighter timeline” which he justified because of the “urgency of this matter.” He intends for the whole matter to be wrapped up “before our Thanksgiving break.” The revised timeline puts public input on the November 1 city council meeting agenda and lists November 8 for “city council action.”
In the memo, Rawlings also requested that the city council’s 14 members submit their task force appointee picks by 5 p.m. on Monday. The mayor asked for an “independent, qualified, and diverse panel.” He reiterated that he supported removing the Confederate monuments, but wants to do so in a “way that makes our city more united.”
While the mayor seeks public buy-in before removing the statues, it remains unknown how many Dallas residents want the historical symbols to remain.
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