A 12-foot-tall bronze statue of Texas Ranger Jay Banks was removed this week from Dallas Love Field Airport after a new book shed light on the figure’s racist history, according to new reports.
The statue, which has stood at the airport since 1962 and is captioned “One Riot, One Ranger,” was removed Thursday, the Dallas Morning News reported.
City and airport officials decided to remove the statue a day after reading troubling excerpts about Banks from Doug J. Swanson’s soon-to-be-published book, “Cult of Glory: The Bold and Brutal History of the Texas Rangers,” in D Magazine.
An infamous photo taken in 1957 shows Banks leaning against a tree outside Mansfield High School as a dummy in blackface hung from a noose above the school. Swanson writes: “Nearby a white mob had assembled. Some carried signs that threatened death for anyone attempting to integrate the school. Banks saw no need to remove the effigy or disperse the mob.”
“Jay Banks was involved in efforts in 1957 to keep black children out of a white school,” Swanson told KXAS-TV. “Ranger Banks was only following orders but he was the face of resistance to integration in Mansfield in 1957.”
Still, Swanson told the station he was “surprised” at the statue’s removal.
“I wasn’t consulted,” he said. “I have very mixed feelings about it. I think it’s really important for the history of the statue to be known.”
“I’m not for silencing or abolishing pieces of history,” he told the Morning News. “I am for explaining them and giving them context. In this case, this statue has a very rich and problematic backstory.”
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