By Joe Farkus, NDG Contributing Writer
The Mayor’s Task Force on Confederate Monuments submitted its final recommendations to Mayor Mike Rawlings, the Dallas City Council, the Cultural Affairs Commission, the Park and Recreation Board, and the Public Art Committee on what to do with the numerous public monuments, symbols, and park and street names associated with leaders of the Confederacy on Sept. 29.
The recommendations are a result of five individual meetings held by the task force beginning on Aug. 31 and concluding on Sep. 22. Two of those meetings were open to public comment, and when the final tally was recorded – both written and in person – 21 comments were in favor of the removal of Confederate monuments and symbols; 123 were opposed. Despite apparent public opposition to the changes, some of the task force’s notable recommendations are as follows:
- The name of Robert E. Lee Park should revert back to its original name Oak Lawn Park.
- The name of the Confederate Cemetery, where Confederate soldiers are currently buried, should be renamed by the Dallas Park Board.
- The Robert E. Lee Statue, which was already removed from Oak Lawn Park (formerly known as Robert E. Lee Park), should be moved to a museum, educational institution or site.
- The names of streets named after Confederate leaders or generals – namely Gano, Lee, and Cabell (in addition to Stonewall and Beauregard) – should be changed within a 90-day period.
- While Fair Park is permitted to keep designations and symbols related to the Confederacy, they must be combined with information providing full historical context regarding the Civil War, Reconstruction, “Jim Crow” era laws, etc.
It’s important to note that while Robert E. Lee Park has already been renamed, the rest of these recommendations are merely that – recommendations. The City Council will vote on whether or not to approve these recommendations and enact them as policy on Nov. 8. In the meantime, the Public Art Committee has tentatively scheduled a meeting to discuss their views on the issue for Thursday, Oct. 12.
The official document detailing the recommendations made by the task force can be found here.