A refreshed Cyclorama: This time, Yankees win the Battle of Atlanta

The Battle of Atlanta cyclorama. Atlanta History Center.

The fatal melee in Charlottesville over the weekend, which grew from a Saturday gathering of white supremacists around a threatened statue of Robert E. Lee, has prompted another round of scrutiny of Confederate symbolism in Georgia.

This morning, Stacey Abrams, a Democratic candidate for governor, called for the removal of the giant carving that depicts three Confederate war leaders on the face of state-owned Stone Mountain, saying it “remains a blight on our state and should be removed.”

Part of a series of Twitter messages posted this morning:

“The removal of the bas relief of Confederates from Stone Mountain has been a constant debate since the state bought the property in 1958.”

Abram’s history is more than slightly off. In another Twitter message, she writes that the carving on the mountain dates to 1915. It was completed in 1972. But it’s the first time the issue of the carvings has been raised in a statewide political contest.

Elsewhere, as reported by the AJC’s Christian Boone, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed will soon make a decision on petitions seeking to re-brand streets such as Confederate Avenue. A change.org petition seeking to change the name of the road in the Grant Park neighborhood had attracted more than 4,000 signatures as of Monday evening.

Then there’s the matter of the “peace monument” in Piedmont Park, which was defaced by “antifa” protesters. The statue celebrates post-Civil War reunification – but its origins in 1911, at the height of the Jim Crow era, are a reminder that African-Americans weren’t a party to that celebration.

And yet it would be wrong to suggest that this re-examination is solely a response to a violent clash at the University of Virginia.

A repaired and restored Cyclorama, the in-the-round mural depicting the Battle of Atlanta, is on the verge of making its debut at the Atlanta History Center – having been moved from its site near Zoo Atlanta.

The mural has unusual history. It was originally commissioned as to mark an important Yankee victory in the war – and might have been used in a U.S. presidential campaign, had the retired Union general who ordered it up not died before the work was finished.

The diorama shifted from hand to hand, drifting southward. The city of Atlanta acquired it in 1898, and the heroic paean to one of Billy Sherman’s generals quickly became something of a shrine to a Confederate victory.

That was “fake news,” Sheffield Hale, CEO of the Atlanta History Center, told the Buckhead Business Association last week – before Charlottesville.

According to BuckheadView, Hale told the business leaders that in the newest iteration of the Cyclorama, “the North will win the battle each and every time.”

***

The reception was rough at times, but U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson survived a meeting with constituents on the campus of Kennesaw State University:

At one point during Monday’s town hall, facing a biting question about cuts to disability services in the failed GOP health care plan, he showed his cane to the audience and said he recently became disabled. He was invoking the diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease that he revealed a few years ago, and some in the crowd groaned.

“I know how lucky I am to live here,” he said, saying that Congress hasn’t cut funding for disability services yet. “And as far as I’m concerned, we’re not going to.”

***

Isakson and other members of Congress from Georgia will be in Macon this afternoon for the annual Georgia Chamber luncheon. Larry Sabato, a political scientist at the University of Virginia and founder of the “Crystal Ball” political blog, will be the keynote speaker. Charlottesville, no doubt, will be on his mind.

***

Fox News reports late Monday that President Donald Trump is “seriously considering” a pardon for former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was convicted last month of criminal contempt for ignoring a judge’s order to stop detaining people he thought looked like undocumented immigrants. Trump retweeted the report this morning, in apparent confirmation.

***

The Washington Post reports that, three days after Donald Trump named his campaign foreign policy team in March 2016, one of his new advisers sent an email with this subject line: “Meeting with Russian Leadership – Including Putin.”

***

Dunwoody resident Marc Alan Urbach has joined the GOP race for governor. Urbach, who ran for president last year, vows to slash the income tax and “end the corrupt and illegal” Affordable Care Act. He’s an educator and calls himself a self-taught constitutional scholar. Four better-known Republican candidates are already in the contest: Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle, Secretary of State Brian Kemp and state Sens. Hunter Hill and Michael Williams. (Bluestein)

***

The former minority engagement guru of the Georgia GOP had some cutting words on the “support black women” protest that drowned out Stacey Evans, a Democratic candidate for governor, at a NetRoots Nation conference over the weekend.

Evans is white. Her chief Democratic rival, Stacey Abrams of Atlanta, is black.

“I take issue with representational leadership based on race and skin color. That’s a very simplistic and dangerous example of ideological solidarity,”  Leo Smith texted us. Smith held his Georgia GOP post until June and is now running for a Buckhead-based state Senate district. “The idea that ‘if it’s black, it won’t crack’ is no more correct than ‘if it’s white, it’s right.'”

He added: “Both ideas are wrong and hurtful to the possibilities of representational leadership based on belief, shared values and capacity to deliver on an uplifting and empowering agenda.”

Reader Comments 0

10 comments
zirekodac
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ElderSage
ElderSage

Stacy is asking progressive minded people to climb Stone Mountain, stand on the sculpture side and topple the rock over.

Daytripper1212
Daytripper1212

When we have guests from out of town, including from six countries by now, we take them to the Cyclorama and Stone Mountain. No matter how loud activists with ‘racist-colored glasses’ scream and agitate, these two impressive sites are THE most impressive, representative and unique things to see in the Atlanta area.

SupersizeThatOrder-mutt
SupersizeThatOrder-mutt

It's been many, many years since I went to the Cyclorama, but I certainly don't remember being given the impression that the rebels won the battle.  In fact, as a young kid in the south in the 1950s, I came away hating the Yankees for what they did.....LOL

FordChance
FordChance

Ignorance reigns, as usual, in the Atlanta Rag. In all the times I have visited the Cyclorama painting, I was never given, even the least impression, that the Battle of Atlanta was won by the Confederates. I recall at one time, they discussed Sherman's whole Georgia Campaign, and enumerated several of the battles he won on "The March to the Sea". There were a few Confederate victories, but they were more or less just skirmishes. Also, renaming Confederate Avenue is born out of ignorance. It was not named for the Confedracy, but, unless I am mistaken was named or renamed that due to the Confederate Soldiers Home being located there in the late 1800's. It housed Confederate Veterans and spouses until the mid 1960's. Many were destitute or severly injured. Oddly enough, one of the more famous ones was a black man, who was a slave or former slave, and followed his "master" into Confederate service. Then to the Soldiers Home, when the latter began to suffer greatly from wounds sustained in the war. He died only a year or so after entry into the home, but the black man was granted special permission to continue to live there, and later, even helped raise funds for the home. The home, which was a beautiful, large colonial style building was allowed to deteriorate, and was razed in 1985. So, if Confederate

Ave is renamed, it will only add to the list of the truly historical places that the City has done away with, and many due to sheer ignorance of their past. Already, the once stately Soldiers' Home, is unknown by many Atlantans. I wonder how many of those 4,000 signatures know why Confedetate Ave was given its name, likely only a small number, and also likely that many don't care. There is more than one type of prejudice, but all types birn from ignorance.

globalchaz
globalchaz

Mr. Galloway:


Surely, you visited the Cyclorama in its Grant Park iteration.  I have been many times, as I felt it was one of the things about Atlanta that could be duplicated nowhere else in the country.  Most of my guests were not native Southerners and none failed to praise the presentation.  Further, I never had the impression that a reversal of history was being offered, nor did anyone ever suggest to me that they got the impression that the Confederate army was victorious in the Battle of Atlanta, or for that matter, the entire unpleasantness.  Well, if they believed before or after that the South won the war that would make them a rube, I suppose.   These were not history majors, for certain, but not rubes, either.


Or, do I have my boxers in a bunch because you were making a "funny" and I missed it?




PappyHappy
PappyHappy

Will say one thing good about Stacey Adams: SHE PLACED HER LACK OF LEADERSHIP, insightfulness, AND INCLUSIVENESS ON THE STAGE FOR ALL TO SEE EARLY ON!


History is history.  Only fools try to rewrite it, and are called to intellectual honesty account by historians.  Few if any Americans endorse slavery today, but that was part of America up to the Emancipation Proclamation -- not pretty, but a fact.  Many northerners had slaves; many Union officers had slaves.  The South lost, but still had some brilliant military leaders as evidenced by the multiple firings of George McCleland by President Lincoln.  Edwin Rommel was a German General in WWI, but even to this day, is noted as being one of the brightest leaders of WWII.  

Point being, let's be thankful the north won, and get on with important things that will positively impact citizens of Georgia in the 21st Century, rather than trying to claim victimhood of what is CARVED IN GRANITE!

TrumpFan53
TrumpFan53

Idiot, anyone who has every visited the cyclorama knows who won the Battle of Atlanta.  It seems that Hale and Company, and you are even more stupid that we dared believe.  Or just pandering as usual.

Thomas R Engel
Thomas R Engel

I was thinking of visiting Georgia, but the AJC makes Atlanta seem just like Boston, Mass.  But I should go to see Stone Mountain before the Democrats blow it up!