In a resolution filed late Monday afternoon, three of the four black members on the Dallas City Council demanded the immediate removal, disposal, and/or relocation of all Confederate monuments located on the municipality’s public land.
Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway, along with council members Casey Thomas II and Tennell Atkins, delivered the signed resolution to Mayor Mike Rawlings, according to WFAA. It calls for a September 6 city council vote to remove Confederate statues, monuments, and structures, also renaming parks and streets with any connection to the city’s Civil War South past. This follows recent violence at a Charlottesville, Virginia, protest.
The proposed resolution authorizes the city manager to “transfer funds or appropriate funds from excess revenue” for the removals and rebrandings. It asserts that “the Confederate monuments, symbols, and images, and public places, including parks, and streets named for Confederate figures distort the violent and oppressive history of the Confederacy and preserve the principles of white supremacy.”
The resolution, essentially, speeds up the existing timeline for Confederate statue removal. The councilmen said their document’s delivery date coincided with the 50th anniversary of when Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered his iconic “I Have a Dream” speech at the Lincoln Memorial on August 28, 1963. However symbolic, it came amid a preoccupied city immersed in pressing emergency plans to house 5,000 Gulf Coast victims, displaced by Hurricane Harvey’s devastating winds, rains, and floods.
Rawlings, who called the historical statues “dangerous totems” and “monuments of propaganda,” already sped up the clock to unearth a 121-year-old Confederate War Memorial located in downtown’s Pioneer Park Cemetery and an uptown Lee Park statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee. Breitbart Texas reported that the mayor originally announced the formation of an appointed task force and two independent advisory groups to arbitrate the fate of the Confederate monuments over a 90-day evaluation period followed by discussion, recommendations, and public comments from Dallas residents. He since outlined a “tighter timeline” insistent on wrapping up the issue before the city council’s Thanksgiving break.
Caraway said he supported Rawlings’ three month “process” but later stated the Confederate statues would be down before Christmas. The mayor pro tem anticipated a city council vote to remove the monuments on September 27 with task force recommendations given as early as October 3. Now, this resolution bumps that vote up to September 6, days after the task force’s first meeting on August 31. It also lists November 8 as the deadline for the city council to complete all of the task force recommendations.
Last week, Caraway estimated the costs to remove, store, and relocate the statues at $4 million. He assured Dallas residents that city officials would not “take a wrecking ball” to Confederate monuments and “destroy history,” although the new resolution lists monument “disposal” as an option.
While the resolution charges “Confederate figures do not promote a welcoming and inclusive city,” a group of North Texas black conservatives rallied for the statues to remain in place with historical context added to present more balanced portrayal of events and individuals, KDFW reported. Similarly, Ron Price, a former Dallas school district trustee, admonished those who want to “whitewash our history” stressing the importance of future generations of African American children understanding “the struggle that we had here in the United States and understanding that struggle is not over.” Former councilwoman Sandra Crenshaw called the efforts of individuals who want to tear down the monuments a “misguided” attempt to erase racism.
Follow Merrill Hope, a member of the original Breitbart Texas team, on Twitter.