AUSTIN — The day after the statue of Robert E. Lee was hauled down from its pedestal in Oak Lawn, a Frisco lawmaker called out Dallas officials for the decision to remove the monument to the Confederate general.
In a Facebook post on Friday morning, Republican Rep. Pat Fallon excoriated the city for taking down the statue, which stood in Lee Park for 81 years.
"SHAME! The city of Dallas buckled & removed the beautiful Robert E Lee statue from Lee Park (a renaming is sure to follow). The statue, dedicated in 1936 by Franklin D Roosevelt, was in removed in 2017 by cowards," Fallon wrote.
He then promised to file legislation that would bar the removal of monuments from land owned by the state and prohibit cities from using taxpayer money to alter or take down tributes like the Lee statue.
app-facebook3 hours ago
SHAME! The city of Dallas buckled & removed the beautiful Robert E Lee statue from Lee Park (a renaming is sure to follow). The statue, dedicated in 1936 by Franklin D Roosevelt, was in removed in 2017 by cowards. I WILL file the Texas Historical Protection Act to drop this madness!
Unveiled in June 1936 by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the statue depicts Lee and a young soldier riding horses. It’s one of several Confederate monuments in the city.
Dallas’ decision to remove the statue, and Fallon’s criticism of that move, come as officials across the nation are rethinking Southern memorials to the Lost Cause. Spurred by the deadly clashes this summer in Charlottesville, Va., — which in turn began over that town’s own statue of Robert E. Lee — similar landmarks have been removed in New Orleans, Baltimore and at Duke University.
In Texas, multiple Confederate statues at the University of Texas at Austin have been removed (the first came down in August 2015) and local officials have mulled changing the name of schools named for Confederate leaders. Gov. Greg Abbott has also agreed to meet with a Dallas lawmaker who wants to discuss the future of the Confederate monuments on the state Capitol grounds.
Legislation similar to the bill Fallon promised to file have been proposed before. This year, Rep. James White of Hillister, the House’s only black Republican, tried to pass a law that would have kept universities like UT Austin from removing such monuments. And Sen. Brandon Creighton, R-Conroe, filed a bill to prohibit the removal of any historical monument on state property that was in place for 40 years or more. Neither passed.
The removal of the Lee statue did not go off without a glitch. After battling in the courts for the city council’s right to take the monument down, city officials had difficulty finding a crane for the job. When they did, it was involved in a deadly crash that delayed the removal for several days.
A replacement crane was eventually located and the statue was removed on Thursday early evening. The city has yet to determine where it will be relocated, and will keep the statue is an undisclosed location a task force recommends a permanent home.