Richard Fausset, San Francisco Chronicle, October 18, 2018
The Rev. Ferrell Brown, a white pastor at a suburban Atlanta megachurch, stood on the big bald top of Stone Mountain on a warm Saturday morning, sharing a stage with two relatives of those murdered at a black church in Charleston, S.C., three years ago.
Below them, etched across 3 acres of granite on the mountain’s north face, was the carving of Southern Civil War leaders that is literally the largest Confederate monument problem in the world.
This late August gathering at Stone Mountain Park, just east of Atlanta, was organized by a group called the OneRace Movement, whose leaders sought to “depoliticize and bring restoration and healing” to the place. They gathered in the heat of a governor’s race in which Stone Mountain, with its controversial carving and ugly racist history, has come to play a complicated role — not as a central issue, exactly, but as a looming presence, imbued with the volatile power of Confederate remembrance and racial resentment.
Stacey Abrams, a Democrat and former state House minority leader, is the first black woman in the country to win a major party’s nomination for governor, and it was Abrams, 44, who injected Stone Mountain into the contest.
She has declared the Stone Mountain carving “a blight on our state,” and called for it to be removed.
Her opponent, Brian Kemp, who is white, has, like President Trump, denounced the movement to take down Confederate monuments. In July, as the Atlanta NAACP planned a protest calling for the removal of the Stone Mountain carving, Kemp said on Facebook that he would protect it from “the radical left.”