Marker Would Detail Racist Origin of Dekalb’s Confederate Monument

Tia Mitchell, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, February 13, 2019

DeKalb County commissioners want to add a marker to Decatur’s Confederate monument that critiques it as a symbol of white supremacy and racism.

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“Located in a prominent public space, its presence bolstered white supremacy and faulty history, suggesting that the cause for the Civil War rested on southern Honor and States Rights rhetoric — instead of its real catalyst — American slavery,” the statement says. “This monument and similar ones also were created to intimidate African Americans and limit their full participation in social and political life of their communities. It fostered a culture of segregation by implying that public spaces and public memory belonged to Whites.”

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Commissioners have also begun the process of installing a historical marker acknowledging lynchings that occurred in DeKalb. That marker will be installed near the front steps of the current Courthouse, which is close to where the Confederate monument is on display at the old Courthouse.

DeKalb County leaders tried to move the Confederate monument to a less prominent location on private property, but no one wanted to take it. State law prevents the destruction or concealment of Confederate monuments owned by local governments.

Rep. Vernon Jones, D-Lithonia, has suggested that the 30-foot-tall obelisk could be relocated to the county landfill as a way to meet the letter of the law while achieving the goal of reducing its visibility. {snip}

While that remains their goal, commissioners see the marker as an opportunity to provide greater understanding of the monument where it stands now. It would travel with the obelisk if it is ever relocated.

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DeKalb County Commissioners

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