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Heritage Or Hate? Debate Over Confederate Statues Heats Up In Dallas

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) - The debate about Confederate statues and monuments in Dallas spilled out in the form of a rally Thursday night downtown at Pioneer Park.

Protesters want to see a memorial honoring veterans who died fighting for the Confederacy come down. Paid for by the Daughters of The Confederacy in 1896, the monument features the likes of Confederate president Jefferson Davis.

"This represents racism and the murder of millions of people who looked just like me," said Hieremila Haile, a Dallas resident who's against the monument. "We could say different types of ways how these relics are important. But at the end of the day, they represent a time where I would have been just something you can kill… just be property."

Most of the group gathered on Thursday night called for the memorial to be taken down. But not all felt that way.

"The people that want this taken down, if they get this taken down, then they're going to find something else to take down," said Festus Allcock, who's a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

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Two groups of protesters. Two very different beliefs. (photo credit: Jeff Paul/CBS11 News)

Allcock said the memorial is an important part of history and his family.

"We're taking pride in our heritage and honoring out ancestors," said Allcock.

He said his beliefs are not rooted in racism or are about a symbol of slavery.

"It's a piece of granite and stone that's laid there to honor the fallen," said Allcock. "That's it."

Haile and others strongly disagree and feel it is a painful reminder.

"If it was just marble and out of the way, then we wouldn't have arguments like this and it wouldn't be such a hard thing to get rid of?" questioned Haile.

The group calling for the removal said it is currently working on a formal petition.

Calls and emails to the City of Dallas were not immediately returned.

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