Georgia officials vote to make changes to largest U.S. Confederate monument

PUBLISHED: Tue, 25 May 2021 01:28:28 GMT

May 24 (Reuters) – Managers of the largest U.S. shrine to the pro-slavery Confederacy on Monday voted to create a museum exhibit to “tell the truth” about the Georgia monument and its giant carvings of Confederate figures, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

The Stone Mountain Memorial Association’s board of directors also voted to relocate Confederate flags to a less-traveled area of Stone Mountain Park, located about 25 miles northeast of Atlanta, and to change the association’s logo, which replicates the mountainside carvings of Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson.

The Stone Mountain Confederate Memorial, a nine-story-high bas-relief sculpture carved into a sprawling rock face, was promoted by segregationist state officials and has become a beacon for white supremacists.

The spectacular setting, with an immense stone that protrudes from the greenery, was chosen to venerate the losing side of the U.S. Civil War, when southern states fought to preserve the chattel slavery of Blacks captured from Africa and their descendants born in America.

The resolution comes after the Journal-Constitution quoted Stone Mountain Memorial Association CEO Bill Stephens saying he wants to “tell the truth about the history of Stone Mountain, of what it was, what it is and what it ought to be.”

The board also voted to create an advisory committee that will attempt to put the carvings in context, according to the newspaper.

Officials of the association could not be reached for comment by phone or email outside regular business hours.

The first Black chairman of the association’s board, who was named to his post in April, indicated there would be more changes to come.

“We’re just taking our first step today, to get where we need to go,” the Reverend Abraham Mosley said, according to the Journal-Constitution.

Monday’s vote came one day before the first anniversary of the murder of George Floyd, a Black man who died when a white police officer in Minneapolis pinned his neck to the ground with a knee.

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Floyd’s death triggered nationwide protests over racial injustice and police brutality and revived a debate over Confederate monuments. (Reporting by Daniel Trotta; Editing by Aurora Ellis and Leslie Adler)

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