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Dallas Leaders Can't Agree On Whether Or Not To Tear Down City's Oldest Confederate Statue

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - Dallas' Confederate War Memorial remains in the midst of a battle of its own. The city's oldest public monument, erected in 1896, sits west of Dallas City Hall on city land inside Pioneer Park Cemetery.

The monument is a century-old salute to Texas military leaders aligned with the Confederacy during the Civil War of 1861-65.

"We need to take this down. We don't need to re-envision anything", Dallas Councilman Kevin Felder said Wednesday, during a briefing session regarding the monument. The city is tasked with a proposal to either rework the 65-foot tall statue with accurate historic context and information, or dismantle the century-old monument.

Dallas' Confederate War Memorial
Dallas' Confederate War Memorial (CBS 11)

Felder and five other council members opposed the possibility of an artist to reimagine the Confederate sculpture, and instead called for its dismantling. "It's not honoring soldiers. It's honoring traitors. That's all it's ever been", Councilman Mark Clayton argued.

But Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings joined three other council members in a push for the council to consider the option of re-imagining the memorial as an artifact of the city's history, a lesson offered to its segregationist past.

"How do you make this something that will be with us for decades and say 'never forget, never forget," Rawlings urged.

Last summer, the city removed the Robert E. Lee sculpture from a city-owned park, despite vehement opposition from some residents.

The council also has the option to leave the war memorial as is. A formal vote on all options could be placed on an agenda as early as March.

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