Removal of confederate statue proving problematic


Last week, the Dallas City Council voted 13-1 to remove the 81-year-old Robert E. Lee statue that stands in Lee park. While the City Council had discussed the status of the Dallas confederate statues in the past, the conversation was given a sense of urgency after white supremacists converged on Charlottesville, Virginia in August to protest the removal of a confederate statue, eliciting a nationwide narrative about the issue.

When I heard that the city I commonly associate myself with had voted to remove the statues I was proud, albeit surprised. However, roadblocks immediately began to appear in the removal of the statue.

Removal crews arrived at the statue last Wednesday to find it was 3 feet taller than they had anticipated, rendering their removal crane useless. In addition, the statute would not budge from the base it stood on.

As the afternoon progressed, it was proposed the statue just be cut off the base. As removal crews began this process, a temporary restraining given to the Sons of Confederate Veterans, was delivered to the removal crew. The restraining order accused the Dallas City Council of acting improperly on their “Orwellian Agenda,” The Dallas Morning News reports.

Within an hour of being signed by U.S. District Judge Sidney Fitzwater, the restraining order was delivered to the park, halting any further removal.

Luckily, it was decided Thursday that removing the statue did not violate anyone’s First Amendment rights and that removal could proceed. The base of the statue proved to be more of an issue than originally anticipated, however, and the 81-year-old statue remained standing.

Friday and Saturday both passed without further action because a crane large enough to remove the statue could not be found. Finally, one was located in Houston and was scheduled to be brought to Dallas.

Sunday night just after 8:00 p.m. a semi-truck collided with the Houston crane hired to remove the statue, resulting in the death of the semi-truck driver. Dallas city officials have said the crane driver was uninjured.

The crane set to remove the statue of Lee was damaged in the crash, and once again it remains unknown when exactly the monument will be removed from it’s perch.

What was intended to be a one day removal has now lasted nearly a week. At this point, it seems that patience will be key when it comes to the statues dismount. Police have kept an active presence around the Lee statue in attempts to dissuade any one hoping to imitate the events that took place last month in Charlottesville.

It remains uncertain if other Texas confederate monuments will also be removed. The Southern Poverty Law Center, a nonprofit legal agency that monitors hate groups, reports that 66 confederate monuments can be located across the state, making Dallas’s statue removal only the beginning.