Posted on April 29, 2021

Georgia Park with Giant Confederate Carving Proposes Changes

Sudhin Thanawala, Associated Press, April 26, 2021

A park near Atlanta with a giant carving of Confederate leaders would publicly acknowledge that it was a gathering spot for the Ku Klux Klan, relocate Confederate flags and remove the carving from its logo under proposals unveiled Monday to address criticism of its Confederate legacy.

Stone Mountain Memorial Association CEO Bill Stephens presented the proposals to the park’s board, saying Stone Mountain needed to change to remain financially viable but couldn’t “cancel history.” {snip}

The park 15 miles (25 kilometers) northeast of downtown Atlanta is a popular hiking and tourist destination but is replete with Confederate imagery, including a colossal sculpture of Gen. Robert E. Lee, Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson on the mountain’s northern face. It is the largest Confederate monument ever crafted.

{snip} Some speakers at Monday’s meeting said the changes before the board didn’t go far enough.


The celebration of the Confederacy at the park is used to “oppress people,” said Bona Allen, with the grassroots group Stone Mountain Action Coalition.

“You, this board, have the responsibility to the citizens of the state of Georgia — all the citizens of Georgia — to do what’s right right now,” he said. {snip}

The coalition last year proposed that the association remove Confederate flags at the base of the mountain, change the names of streets and other park features with Confederate affiliations and refocus the park around such themes as racial reconciliation and justice. Meymoona Freeman, a leader of the group, said it wanted to see the carving of Lee, Davis and Jackson transformed into a natural space.

The sculpture has special protection enshrined in Georgia law, and Stephens said it wasn’t going anywhere.

Martin O’Toole, an attorney, said the law requires that Stone Mountain serve as a memorial to the Confederacy.