With the recent unrest in Charlottesville, Va., spurring efforts to bring down Confederate monuments across the nation, a group of mostly Black Dallas locals have teamed up to ensure that the city’s Confederate statues remain standing.
For Former Dallas city council member Sandra Crenshaw, removing the controversial statues isn’t the solution to combating racism.
“I’m not intimidated by Robert E. Lee’s statue. I’m not intimidated by it,” Crenshaw told CBS Dallas. “It doesn’t scare me.”
“We don’t want America to think that all African-Americans are supportive of this,” she added.
Crenshaw, along with Buffalo Soldier historians and members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, have banded together to prevent the city’s Confederate markers from toppling over, CBS Dallas reported. The group believes that such monuments, like the Freedman’s cemetery, tell an important part of history and help heal racial wounds.
“Some people think that by taking a statue down, that’s going to erase racism,” Crenshaw said. “Misguided.”
Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who also is African-American, shared the ex-council woman’s sentiments. In a appearance on Fox News earlier this year, Rice criticized efforts to remove monuments honoring Confederate leaders, saying she doesn’t believe in sanitizing history.
“I am a firm believer in ‘keep your history before you,’ so I don’t actually want to rename things that were named for slave owners,” she said Monday, Aug. 14. “I want us to have a look at those names and recognize what they did and be able to tell our kids what they did and for them to have a sense of their own history.”
“When you start wiping out your history, sanitizing your history to make you feel better, that’s a bad thing,” Rice continued.
The former secretary of state said that rather than remove the Confederate statues, Americans should celebrate how far the country has come from the time when the “founding fathers” counted enslaved Blacks as just three-fifths of a person or when African-Americans in Alabama didn’t have the right to vote.
Dallas council member Philip Kingston disagrees with both women, saying it’d be unwise to let a monument that celebrates racial inequality remain standing.
“These monuments distort history, they don’t teach history,” Kingston told CBS Dallas.
The news station reported that the councilman has since proposed a resolution that would ban Confederate monuments on public lands and create a task force designated to decide the futures of such statues.