A statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee was vandalized Thursday night in Dallas when someone spray-painted the word "shame" on it in capital letters, reported KXAS in Fort Worth. The act was carried out about two weeks after a small group of protesters gathered to hold an "undedication" of the site.
The statue is in Robert E. Lee Park in the Oak Lawn area of Dallas. Park department workers were working Friday to remove the word "shame," sprayed in white paint prominently across the base of the statue depicting Lee on horseback. Lee Park & Arlington Hall Conservancy, which maintains the park, issued a statement condemning the act.
“This criminal act creates alarm, not dialogue, and the entire community is a victim because this park is a peaceful urban oasis. We have begun the repairs and are installing additional security measures immediately,” the statement read, via KXAS.
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Dallas police said they received two calls about the vandalism Friday morning, about the same time South Carolina was removing the Confederate battle flag from its statehouse grounds, according to the Dallas Morning News. An investigator was reportedly being assigned to the case.
There is a growing debate over Confederate symbols across the United States after the online racist manifesto of Dylann Roof -- the apparent killer of nine people at a historic black church in Charleston -- showed him posing with a Confederate flag.
Two weeks ago, after the "undedication," the Lee Park & Arlington Hall Conservancy said it welcomed "open dialogue, peaceful debate and level-headed reflection on this issue and others like it. Many people across the country are engaged in these discussions, and we believe it’s a healthy debate to have, even if it’s difficult,” according to the Dallas Morning News.
The paper suggested that while there are a number of Confederate symbols across Texas, the Lee statue might be the most "high-profile of them all." NAACP leaders reportedly met in late June to discuss removing Confederate symbols across North Texas, including the Lee statue.
"If we are going to move forward in America, as Americans, we have to let go of those symbols," said Arthur Fleming, president of the Dallas chapter, according to WFAA in Dallas. "They can keep the symbols. They can take them to a house or put them in a museum."