Stacey Evans: An argument for ‘accurate’ history at Stone Mountain

Despite its past and Confederate legacy, Stone Mountain remains a popular site for African-American family reunions and where members of the community go to relax and exercise. The mountain, which is adorned with a huge carving depicting Confederate heroes, is classified as a Confederate memorial by state statute. KENT D. JOHNSON/KDJOHNSON@AJC.COM

Early this morning, state Rep. Stacey Abrams of Atlanta, a Democratic candidate for governor, roiled the waters with a series of Twitter messages in which she argued that the Confederate carving on the face of Stone Mountain should be erased. From one:

“We must never celebrate those who defended slavery and tried to destroy the union.”

Two things have emerged this afternoon. First, on Sunday, as part of her own reaction to the fatal eruption by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Va., former state lawmaker LaDawn Jones posted on her blog a description of an encounter she had with Abrams, then House minority leader, in 2015.

Jones is backing state Rep. Stacey Evans of Smyrna in the Democratic race for governor.

In the days following the massacre of nine black church-goers in Charleston, S.C., Jones said she had wanted to tackle the topic of Stone Mountain and its Confederate symbolism. Jones said Abrams refused to even raise the topic with the House Democratic Caucus.

We have a request for comment into the Abrams campaign.

Secondly, we asked Evans for her position on Stone Mountain and Confederate symbolism, and have received this response:

“Georgians must unite around what connects us rather than cling to what divides us.  We must always commemorate the past with an eye towards the future, which means we can—and must—honor the past without memorializing hate.         

“I am in favor of HB 760, which was sponsored by my good friend and supporter, [former] Rep. LaDawn Jones.  This legislation would require the agency overseeing Stone Mountain Park to maintain an appropriate, inclusive, and historically accurate memorial to the Civil War—not the Confederacy.

“I also believe we should repeal any provision of Georgia law that restricts state or local governments from altering or removing local monuments or street names that glorify the Confederacy, so we can ensure that these memorials are given the appropriate historical context and do not glorify a hateful past.  

“Overall, we must always commemorate history in context, especially around the Civil War and slavery. And we must never lose sight of the fact that slavery and the racism and state-enforced oppression of African Americans that followed it are a terrible shame for our nation and we must work every day to eliminate the harm caused and finally achieve real equality for everyone.

“I’m proud to have the support of former Gov. Roy Barnes, who sacrificed his re-election to do right by Georgia and take down Georgia’s segregation-era state flag.  The Georgia Legislative Black Caucus has been leading on the issue of how the state can heal our shameful past when it comes to treatment of African Americans, and I look forward to working with them as governor to move our state forward.

“As governor, helping lead the dialogue on these issues will be one of my most important tasks.  I have been, and will always be, a champion to Georgians who wish to promote equality, healing, and respect.”

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Reader Comments 6

391 comments
Mary Henderson
Mary Henderson

Y'all are starting another Civil War over a Civil War.....have we learned nothing from our history? There is no one alive who was a slave or a slave owner. This carving should be an example of how far we have all come.

Linda Lashomb
Linda Lashomb

It's a beautiful carving! If you erase history you just may repeat it!

Lloyd Seay
Lloyd Seay

Leave Stone Mtn. like it is NOW!!!!!

Linda Wallace
Linda Wallace

Are you going to erase the whole existence of history

Kathy Boyle Dry
Kathy Boyle Dry

Leave Stone Mountain alone! I use to go to Stone Mountain before it was a park and was amazed at the carving and the history of the carving and how the artist accomplished such a great art piece! It is an amazing accomplishment! Stop using civil war history to tear every body apart! Let's be tolerant of everyone's history!

David Gaddis
David Gaddis

Then quit celebrating the blacks, they had more slaves than whites, you will never become gov. give it up.

Bryan Odale
Bryan Odale

She isnt from here she is irrelevant

ConcernedVeteran83
ConcernedVeteran83

I'm so disgusted with these politicians trying to cause uprising with this stuff. If you take away one person's history you better take away everyone's. That wont happen though. My brothers and I fought to protect everyone and I love this country and this state. Politicians are the problem, thinking that removing this statue or this monument will cause people to get along..ha! How long has Stone Mountain been there? And now it's a problem to the point they are trying to have it sandblasted?!?!? Y'all need to wake up for crying out loud. I'm not angry because I want to just keep it there to spit in someone else's face, people died that came from all walks of life during the Civil War and to just spit in there face after the sacrifice they gave. American just didn't become great overnight, we had to try and fail and try again and tear it all down and rebuild it back up. We haven't learned a darn thing.

Teresa Nichols
Teresa Nichols

Respond to medical marijuana in the state of Georgia now that's discrimination

Red Reb
Red Reb

Go to Stone Mountain then go down any MLK named road in this state. Make sure to come back and let us know the differences.

Wlliam Talmadge
Wlliam Talmadge

Abrams killed her candidacy before it even started. Why are you focused on statues and monuments when legitimate voters are being purged by the thousands? Any candidate with any sense would be focusing this topic and similar ones, but as usual, democrats show how lost and void of true direction and leadership they are.

Brenda Addison
Brenda Addison

The so-called rep Abrams needs to go somewhere . Blacks were the first slave owners in AMERICA . BOUGHT AND sold their own people TO Their own people . Duh !

Jay Ansley
Jay Ansley

She should go back to Mississippi and re-write their history,......Leave ours alone.................MPA

Rafe Massengale
Rafe Massengale

Amazing how a few racist divide a country. You racist are moving the USA backwards. Don't let the racist blacks and whites create hatred in your soul and pit you against one another.

Robert William Alexander Jr.
Robert William Alexander Jr.

I wrote this the last time this idea came up, when an Atlanta NAACP member suggested a couple of years back that the carvings at Stone Mtn. be “sandblasted off the mountain”...I get his point, but will note that Georgia Law actually forbids the removal of Confederate monuments... Stone Mountain is bad art, for a bad cause: It's out of scale to the mountain .When I first saw the carvings as a kid, in the 60s, my first thought was “it looks like a postage stamp on a watermelon…” As an artist, the destruction of any art makes me queasy, no matter how dreadful or freighted with symbolism/history. As the cure for big, bad art is bigger, better art, we could consider adding, on the south face of the mountain, facing Atlanta, a larger and somewhat more artfully rendered carving of MLK, Rosa Parks, Emmitt Till… And we need to acknowledge and clearly state in the associated Museum the relationship of the carving the the KKK, as well as sculptor Gutzon Borglum’s KKK affiliation, and the fact that he destroyed much of the carving he had done by the mid ’20s.. And then there is this satiric MoveOn petition to add the rappers from Outkast to the carving: http://www.cnn.com/.../georgia-stone-mountain.../index.html … ““By no means do we wish to erase or destroy the current carving, which, regardless of its context, is an impressive and historic work of art,” the MoveOn.com petition says. “We simply wish to add new carvings, of Atlanta hip-hop duo Outkast, to the mountainside. There’s plenty of room.” “I believe that Daddy Fat Sacks and Three Stacks should be carved riding in a Cadillac (as is their wont). This will help the new carving blend nicely with the Confederates who are on horseback.” And, should the sun rise in the west and we take this route, I’d suggest a further addition: we add Flannery O’connor, rolling her eyes, as was her wont….

John Ludlum
John Ludlum

I thought the Civil War was fought over a States Rights? Am I missing something from my History Classes? PS if u don't live in Georgia shut the ---- up! If you do live in Georgia and u support the removal of said monument u need to restudy your history! Thank you Brent Ward for your input!

John Smith
John Smith

American Antiquities Act of 1906 16 USC 431-433 Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That any person who shall appropriate, excavate, injure, or destroy any historic or prehistoric ruin or monument, or any object of antiquity, situated on lands owned or controlled by the Government of the United States, without the permission of the Secretary of the Department of the Government having jurisdiction over the lands on which said antiquities are situated, shall, upon conviction, be fined in a sum of not more than five hundred dollars or be imprisoned for a period of not more than ninety days, or shall suffer both fine and imprisonment, in the discretion of the court. Sec. 2. That the President of the United States is hereby authorized, in his discretion, to declare by public proclamation historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest that are situated upon the lands owned or controlled by the Government of the United States to be national monuments, and may reserve as a part thereof parcels of land, the limits of which in all cases shall be confined to the smallest area compatible with proper care and management of the objects to be protected: Provided, That when such objects are situated upon a tract covered by a bona fied unperfected claim or held in private ownership, the tract, or so much thereof as may be necessary for the proper care and management of the object, may be relinquished to the Government, and the Secretary of the Interior is hereby authorized to accept the relinquishment of such tracts in behalf of the Government of the United States. Sec. 3. That permits for the examination of ruins, the excavation of archaeological sites, and the gathering of objects of antiquity upon the lands under their respective jurisdictions may be granted by the Secretaries of the Interior, Agriculture, and War to institutions which the may deem properly qualified to conduct such examination, excavation, or gathering, subject to such rules and regulation as they may prescribe: Provided, That the examinations, excavations, and gatherings are undertaken for the benefit of reputable museums, universities, colleges, or other recognized scientific or educational institutions, with a view to increasing the knowledge of such objects, and that the gatherings shall be made for permanent preservation in public museums. Sec. 4. That the Secretaries of the Departments aforesaid shall make and publish from time to time uniform rules and regulations for the purpose of carrying out the provisions of this Act.

Marie Adamson
Marie Adamson

The KKK ran Gustof out of town before he could finish the monument, that's why it took 30 years and Democrats support before it was finished. Check the facts.

Richard Howell
Richard Howell

Like my wife. Always has an opinion, keep to yourself...

Mike Pregon
Mike Pregon

We must tear down the statue of racist and KKK leader Robert Byrd democrat senator and mentor to Hillary Clinton

Cristal Michelle
Cristal Michelle

And I hate to break it to you but the Civil War was not about maintaining slavery it was about States rights.

Carolyn Johnson Byers
Carolyn Johnson Byers

You people need to get a gripe, this is history, you are destroying & making more history. I feel so sorry for my grand & great grandchildren.

Cheryl Barker Brooks Billington
Cheryl Barker Brooks Billington

Please do not take the paid confederate Memorial Day in April if these things offend . Some Ga state departments have this on holiday schedule.

Robert J. Simon
Robert J. Simon

She's anti American, sounds antichrist and we don't want her for Any office !

Ben L Rainey
Ben L Rainey

Abrams should shut up about Stone Mtn Park it belongs to the people of GA nothing is going to change there

Brent Ward
Brent Ward

Stone Mountain is specifically protected in the Official Code of Georgia 50-3-21, which reads in part: “Any other provision of law notwithstanding, the memorial to the heroes of the Confederate States of America graven upon the face of Stone Mountain shall never be altered, removed, concealed or obscured in any fashion and shall be preserved and protected for all time as a tribute to the bravery and heroism of the citizens of the state who suffered and died in their cause.”

Jane Scroggins
Jane Scroggins

Accurate = say what the liberal socialists tell you to say!

Don Lewis
Don Lewis

Slavery or not....we need to remember that that was not the WHOLE reason the war was fought...there were other reasons and people are forgetting that. I think we need to remember the past and look past these memorials and statues. Taking them down will NOT do anything because these things will just exacerbate and make the issue worse. Keep up the monument....I mean if we want to get rid of these things, then maybe the US could look at Mt Rushmore and take those Presidents off because Washington was a slave owner....does anyone say anything about this....I think NOT!

Chuck Mckinzie
Chuck Mckinzie

we got to keep her voted out we dont need her as gov vote NO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tom Martin
Tom Martin

It is amazing at the stupidity when education has suffered so badly.

Shane Norris
Shane Norris

That this is even a topic of discussion is not intelligent. It's not racism just because you say it is. Are the French getting rid of reminders and statues from D-Day? Are the camps still standing in Germany from the holocaust? Do we not have a wall honoring our fallen in Vietnam ? Do we not have memorials at Pearl Harbor and the World Trade Center? ... My point is that each of those are parts of history that were not our or other countries shining moments. Some are to remind us of tragedies we should never have to experience again and others are to recognize valor and honor for those who gave their lives for wars they didn't want or America didn't fully support. The Civil War wasn't our proudest as a country but it should not be scrubbed from the history books or its reminders destroyed because it makes you uncomfortable. They inspire us not to repeat the mistakes of our past.

Mike Kight
Mike Kight

Let her pay for it out of pocket. Bet she will learn to enjoy it more.

Karl Zeggert
Karl Zeggert

The Confederate states were attempting to succeed from the union. The Union forces prevented that from happening. The North as well as the South had many slaves. California take note

Teresa Holman
Teresa Holman

I want her to declare the same for Margaret Sanger. A racist who founded PP for the purpose of black genocide. The "Nero Project" was her idea to limit/eleminate the maximum amount. More blacks are aborted in New York than born. According to the New York Dept. of Health. Sanger's portraits and busts are revered in many places. Awards are given bearing her name. Gatherings are held yearly honoring her. Attended by many so called leaders, politicians and prominent people. Her name offends me. Remove all evidence of Sanger, nationally! No more ceremonies or awards honoring her memory! Give this challenge to all politicians!

Craig Barfield
Craig Barfield

The Confederacy was thought of differently by those in the South. They viewed the War as defending their homeland from being attacked by aggressors from the North. (The War of Northern Aggression) You can't apply your views & values from today onto those that lived almost 160 years ago. Using the ambiguous term "accurate history" is code for "we will change it". The fact is these men were viewed as heroes who fought valiantly to protect their homeland from a northern invader. They were a product of their times. Given the fact that over 50 of the signers of the Declaration of Independence were slave owners, we can only deduce that these politicians will soon be going after Federal heroes like Washington, Jefferson, and Adams for their supposed sins. Stop trying to change history. Keep these statues and monuments as a reminder of where we have come from as a nation.

Larry Herron
Larry Herron

If she don't like the south she shouldn't run for governor she should up north and stay there

Jenni Miller
Jenni Miller

Alot of you have forgotten Lincon asked Lee to lead the union army. He chose the confederate to keep his beloved south from being destroyed by war. They are now demanding all monuments be taken down they are protected by federal law. Every state that removes any statue is breaking the law. As for why the war was fought if you can get pass your narrow minded views you would understand it was more to do with the federal govt. over stepping the states rights as far as representation in the govt. and how certain states would be taxed more. Those were the driving force. Now If You want to erase our history YOU are basicly replaying the start of the war. You can't erase what happened but you can use whats here to learn from it. By the way I am one of those racist, homophobic, uneducated, gun clinging, bible thumping, deplorables. I have voted democrat I have voted republican. Yes the supremist are wrong but so is antifa. Until you admit that their are extremist in all beliefs you are the problem.

Shawn Dykes
Shawn Dykes

Seems a bunch of people need a safe space....lol. Pitiful

Judy Crawford Knowles
Judy Crawford Knowles

Stacey Abrams , for a supposedly educated person , you're not very smart when it comes to history . Maybe you should take a history course before you run for governor , which I hope you lose if you do run . You won't get my vote .

Kim Rippere
Kim Rippere

Staying quiet isn't the answer. Things do NOT change that way.

Shea Chamberlain
Shea Chamberlain

If we want to remove statues and other forms of the losers of wars, shouldn't we be taking down Geronimo's, Lenin, any Mexican figures, German, Chinese, and such? If we are truly seeking equality then the standard should be for all.

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  3. […] It’s also a line that Abram’s Democratic rival, state Rep. Stacey Evans of Smyrna, has quickly adopted. […]

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  4. […] have to be changed if communities were allowed to determine what monuments remain on their ground, as another Democratic candidate, state Rep. Stacey Evans, has […]

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  6. […] It’s the law that would thwart the call by state Rep. Stacey Abrams, a Democratic candidate for governor, to sandblast the carving of Confederate leaders from Stone Mountain. It’s also the statute that would have to be changed if communities were allowed to determine what monuments remain on their ground, as state Rep. Stacey Evans, another Democratic candidate for governor, has advocated. […]

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