NAACP calls for removal of giant Confederate carving on Georgia mountainside
The monument, called the Confederate Memorial Carving, is etched into the side of Georgia’s Stone Mountain and measures three acres across – larger than an American football field. Towering 400 feet above the ground, it is the highest relief sculpture in the world. It depicts three Confederate leaders, President Jefferson Davis as well as Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson, riding on horseback.
Got our spot for the Stone Mountain laser show and fireworks! pic.twitter.com/w3CeWlTKFz
— Colin Kershey (@ColinKershey) July 4, 2015
“Those guys need to go,” NAACP Atlanta chapter leader Richard Rose told WSB-TV. “They can be sand-blasted off, or somebody could carefully remove a slab of that and auction it off to the highest bidder.”
“My tax dollars should not be used to commemorate slavery,” he added.
— AJC (@ajc) July 14, 2015
The request comes on the heels of the removal the Confederate battle flag from the South Carolina State House, which was prompted by outrage and protest over the June shooting deaths of nine people at an African-American church in Charleston. The shooter, Dylann Roof, was seen in photographs posing with a Confederate flag, and there are allegations that he had said he wanted to start a race war.
The NAACP wants to go much further. It is requesting not only that the relief sculpture be removed, but also the elimination of all Confederate symbols on all state-owned buildings, parks and lands.
“It is time for Georgia and other Southern states to end the glorification of slavery and white supremacy paid for and maintained with the taxes of all its citizens,” the NAACP said in a press release.
— Rachel Stockman (@RStockmanWSB) July 3, 2015
Rose told the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday that “symbols demonstrate people’s mindset. They mean something. There are monuments all over the South...that were erected to demonstrate and celebrate white supremacy.”
“The heritage we should be celebrating is the US heritage. We’re not a separate nation,” Rose said. He added that he is working with local lawmakers to push this issue forward.
A spokesman for Stone Mountain Park told WSB-TV that removal of the monument is up to the Georgia legislature.
US Representative Hank Johnson (D-Georgia), who serves the district in which the mountain is located, told local radio station V-103 that he is “not so much affected by Stone Mountain Park as I am by the flag flying at an official government building like a state capitol or even the federal Capitol, a position, the seat of government.”
“I view Stone Mountain as more of a museum-type archaeological place of remembrance for those who want to remember back then and they have a right to remember back then and the park is there,” he said.
Stone Mountain was originally privately owned by the Venable family, who deeded the north face to the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1916 so that the memorial could be created, according to the Stone Mountain Park website. It was never completed, however, and the family assumed ownership again until the State of Georgia purchased the mountain and surrounding land in 1958. Work on the monument was begun in the 1960s and completed in 1972.
Happy Birthday America. Shot at Stone Mountain Park in GA. pic.twitter.com/XlJvDyO5O2
— Peaks N Valleys (@MrPeaksNValleys) July 5, 2015