On Wednesday, 25 October, I observed as all but one of the Dallas City Council listened to input from mostly white Dallas citizens regarding the recommendations of the mayor’s confederate monuments, schools, and street names task force.
A number of the people who spoke were from the Mayfair on Lee Parkway who are opposed to changing the street name. I agree that that is unnecessary. It is not the Robert E. Lee Parkway, just Lee Parkway. Two or three people felt that the discussion of confederate statue removal was prompted by Marxists in our midst. A handful of people angrily demanded that the Robert E. Lee statue be restored to its pedestal in Oak Lawn Park and that the park’s name revert to Lee Park.
There was at least one speaker whose stance surprised me. An African-American woman spoke for keeping the confederate statues, claiming them as part of her history and heritage. She received loud and long applause from the predominantly white assemblage. Two speakers drove in from Cleburne to request that the Lee statue be given to the Cleburne Arts Council, a 501c3, for display on their private property. One speaker was from Arlington, one from Carrollton, and one from Addison. One elderly gent went to the microphone to assure us that the Civil War is over and that we need not re-fight it.
Some speakers claimed that the very discussion of the disposition of the monuments was causing strife where there had been none. Many claimed that fewer than 30 percent of Dallas citizens wanted the statues removed or the streets renamed. A handful of folks called for a city-wide vote on the monuments, and schools and streets renaming issues. Each time it was suggested, there were enthusiastic, sustained applause
All speakers had had their say in just two hours, from 6.00 to 8.00 p.m. Mayor Rawlings thanked all of the speakers and invited those who wanted to speak but did not do so that night to sign up to speak at the 1 November Council Meeting. I signed up. I will post my comments next week.