Dallas' Robert E. Lee Park Renamed, Officials Recommend Streets Next - NBC Connecticut
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Dallas' Robert E. Lee Park Renamed, Officials Recommend Streets Next

Robert E. Lee Park, long named for Confederate General, will temporarily be called Oak Lawn Park

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    Dallas' Robert E. Lee Park has a new name Friday and soon so may several city streets named for Confederate generals. (Published Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017)

    Dallas' Robert E. Lee Park has a new name Friday and soon so may several city streets named for Confederate generals.

    During a special session Friday morning, the City of Dallas Park and Recreation board unanimously voted to temporarily rename the park, which bore the name of the Confederate general for 81 years, to Oak Lawn Park until a permanent name can be approved.

    The Lee statue was removed from the park last week and placed in storage.

    Park Board President Bobby Abtahi supported the decision to rename the park in the interest of uniting, and not dividing, the city.

    “The last place in the city, almost, where everyone is equal is a park,” Abtahi said. “And I take it very seriously when certain folks in our city don't feel welcome in a park, or don't feel that a park name does not make them proud or does not make them feel like they should be there.”

    Until a new permanent name can be chosen, signage that said Lee Park will be covered up, according to the Director of the Park Department.

    During a meeting of the Mayor's Task Force on Confederate Monuments Friday afternoon, it was recommended that several streets in the city named for Confederate generals also be renamed.

    Those streets, Lee, Gano, Stonewall, Beauregard and Cabell, will all be changed at a future date if the city council decides to follow through with the recommendations.

    The task force voted Friday to leave Fair Park artwork with Confederate reference in place and will add context.

    "How powerful would it be to have a museum space dedicated to telling the history of the lost cause right here in in the city of Dallas?" asked task force member Michael Waters.

    The task force also recommended removal of the Confederate War Memorial at Pioneer Park.

    "We will never be a world-class city, a city of the future, if we allow Confederate monuments that are racist propaganda to continue to sit on city property," said task force member Sara Mokuria.

    The task force said the Confederate Memorial should be treated the same as the Robert E. Lee statue, taken down and put in a place that can display them in their proper context. 

    "We must move forward," task force member Norma Minnis declared. "And this constant reminder of Robert E. Lee, he needs to be put to rest is what needs to happen to him."

    The Mayor's Task Force on Confederate Monuments will present its recommendations on Oct. 4. The Dallas City Council has the final say on any changes.