Dallas City Council Votes to Remove Confederate Monument - NBC New York
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Dallas City Council Votes to Remove Confederate Monument

Officials said removal would be done carefully to avoid damage to the monument

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    Dallas City Council Votes to Remove Confederate Monument

    The Dallas City Council voted 11-4 on Wednesday to remove the Confederate Monument at Pioneer Cemetery. (Published Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019)

    The Dallas City Council voted 11-4 on Wednesday to remove the Confederate Monument at Pioneer Cemetery.

    The vote came with passionate speeches from African American members of the City Council about the kind of city Dallas should be.

    The four members voting against removal were Jennifer Gates, Rickey Callahan, Adam McGough and Sandy Greyson.  They supported an alternative plan to add a new display beside the monument about slavery and the Civil War to put it in context.

    Mayor Mike Rawlings voted in favor of that option in an initial 10 to 5 vote but changed sides in what he said was a show of unity, when it was obvious the majority wanted the monument removed.

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    Wednesday's vote came after a briefing on options for the monument last week.

    Controversy has swirled for two years in Dallas over Confederate issues.

    Removing the Confederate monument was delayed, even after a September 2017 city council vote that said Confederate monuments are against Dallas policy.

    A 13 to 1 vote that month immediately removed the Robert E. Lee statue in Uptown. It remains is storage at Hensley Field.

    Artist Lauren Wood, who has experience with such work, was recruited by city staff to consider a project that would "re-envision" the monument site in a new context.

    Removing and storing the monument will cost around $480,000.

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    Officials said removal would be done carefully to avoid damage.

    It will not happen immediately. Removal now requires review and approval by the Dallas Landmark Commission, which can be appealed to the Dallas Plan Commission since the monument and the location in the Pioneer Cemetery are both historic. The issue would then once again return to the City Council for a final decision, but Wednesday's vote is a very strong indication of what that final decision will be.

    If the process takes several months and drags past May city elections and a likely June run off, new City Council members could vote differently, but the strong majority Wednesday makes that unlikely.

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    Protests against white supremacy and for the Lee statue were staged in 2017 with a large number of emotional people on both sides of the Confederate issues attending each one.