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Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Vandals spray-paint anti-Trump messages, expletives on Confederate War Memorial

Vandals spray-painted messages aimed against President Donald Trump on the base of a Confederate War Memorial in Dallas over the weekend, KTVT-TV reported.

The graffiti, written in red paint, spelled out an expletive with three k's at the end, along with "Trump" and "Freedom" at the base of the statue in Pioneer Park Cemetery. The vandalism occurred just days after the Dallas City Council voted to remove the 120-year-old memorial in downtown Dallas.

On Monday, a crew that specializes in monument care was able to remove most of the paint. Then city crews blasted the rest of it off with a power washer.
Metal barriers have since been placed around the memorial. There will be additional police patrolling of the area to ensure it doesn't happen again.

What did city leaders say about the vandalism?


Dallas Public Art Manager Kay Kallos told KTVT that this type of vandalism "happens very rarely in the city of Dallas."
Dallas City Councilman Rick Callahan called the vandalism "wrong."

"It's unfortunate any time you get vandalism in any way, shape or form," Callahan told the news outlet. "It's wrong and certainly invites retaliation."

The statue, which sits near city hall, was erected in 1896. It is the city's oldest public monument. The 65-foot obelisk is topped with a Confederate soldier and surrounded by statues of Confederate leaders Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson and Albert Johnston. It was moved to the cemetery in 1961.

What about the city council's decision to remove the monument?

The Dallas City Council voted 11-4 on Wednesday to have the monument removed.
Callahan, who was among the council's loudest opponents for removing the statue, described American history as "bloody" and "sinful," but added that "it's our history," the Dallas Morning News reported.

Others who opposed the removal proposed developing a way to re-envision the monument by adding modern context.
But black council member Kevin Felder reportedly called the idea "asinine."
And civil rights activist John Fullinwider told the council that Dallas should "be free of the delusions of white supremacy."

"We will never be free ... until we free ourselves from this prison of white racism," Fullinwider said, according to the Morning News.
The city's Landmark Commission must approve the removal of the monument before it can be removed. If it doesn't receive the votes needed to remove the statue, the City Plan Commission will hear an appeal, according to the Morning News.
Some estimates have suggested that the monument's removal will cost the city about $480,000.

What else?

In September 2017, the city removed its Gen. Robert E. Lee monument that stood in the park with the same name. The statue had been dedicated by former President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1936 as part of the Texas Centennial celebration. The park was renamed back to its original name, Oak Lawn Park. 

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