The Georgia law that protects Stone Mountain, other Confederate monuments

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

On his Facebook page, William Reilly, the House clerk in the state Capitol, reports that his office has been inundated with inquiries about the law that protects all Confederate monuments in Georgia.

The statute was part of a 2001 compromise that removed a segregation-era state flag.

This is also 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 another Democratic candidate for governor, state Rep. Stacey Evans, has advocated.

Reilly cited the section of the Georgia code that applies. Here’s a portion of the language:

4) It shall be unlawful for any person, firm, corporation, or other entity acting without authority to mutilate, deface, defile, abuse contemptuously, relocate, remove, conceal, or obscure any privately owned monument, plaque, marker, or memorial which is dedicated to, honors, or recounts the military service of any past or present military personnel of this state, the United States of America or the several states thereof, or the Confederate States of America or the several states thereof. Any person or entity who suffers injury or damages as a result of a violation of this paragraph may bring an action individually or in a representative capacity against the person or persons committing such violations to seek injunctive relief and to recover general and exemplary damages sustained as a result of such person’s or persons’ unlawful actions.

(c) 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 this state who suffered and died in their cause.

***

We told you on Wednesday that the city of Baltimore had completed the removal of some Confederate statues overnight. One Democratic wag corrected us via email. The statues, he said, had been taken into protective custody for their own safety.

***

Allow me to point you to the Thursday column on the American habit of editing history in public spaces, and the negotiations that have taken place in the South.

***

ICYMI: The Stone Mountain Memorial Association this week denied a Ku Klux Klan request to burn a cross at the park, citing the trouble at a “pro-white” rally last year.

***

Democrat Stacey Abrams said her campaign for governor was “wholly unaffiliated” with her supporters who shouted down her white opponent at a progressive conference last weekend.

But our AJC colleague Bill Torpy did a bit of sleuthing that showed one of the organizers of the demonstration against state Rep. Stacey Evans had ties to Abrams. From his piece:

Abrams’ deputy campaign manager, Marcus Ferrell, used to be CEO of an activist org called MPACT. And his deputy director at MPACT was a woman named Anoa Changa.

Not long after the shout-down, The Washington Post talked with “protester” Anoa Changa. “An interruption is not necessarily promoting one person over another,” Changa told the newspaper.

Changa also sent a flurry of tweets about her role in the demonstration.

***

Meanwhile, Stacey Abrams asked supporters to sign a petition supporting her call to remove the Confederate faces from Stone Mountain’s massive granite wall.

“It’s a monument to racism,” she said in a recent MSNBC appearance, adding that the deadly violence in Charlottesville, Va. helped spur her decision. Said Abrams:

“The reality is these are not memorials that teach us history. They teach us myths. It’s a myth that this is somehow venerating the Confederacy. This is about venerating and holding up the domestic terrorism that plagued this nation post-Reconstruction through Jim Crow and into today.

“And there’s no right-thinking person who should object to the removal of the statuary – especially a bas relief – the largest in the world – that depicts the architects of domestic terrorism that threatened to tear this nation apart.”

***

This should be grand: U.S. Rep. John Lewis will be the center of what’s billed as his “first-ever comedy roast” on Aug. 31 for a fundraiser to benefit Better Georgia, the left-leaning advocacy group.

Bryan Long, the group’s director, said the event will also serve as a reminder that the civil rights issues that Lewis championed “are not secure and are back on the table” under President Donald Trump.

“There’s no better time to remind ourselves of what Rep. Lewis has done for Georgia and for this nation and the work we must continue to do,” said Long.

***

U.S. Rep. Hank Johnson suggested Wednesday that Confederate statues should remain on display in the U.S. Capitol, a stark contrast to some of his colleagues on the Congressional Black Caucus who want to see them removed after a white supremacist rally in Virginia turned fatal over the weekend. From The Hill newspaper (emphasis ours):

Another Black Caucus member, Rep. Hank Johnson (D-Ga.), suggested it’s better to include statues of figures from other chapters of U.S. history alongside depictions of the Confederacy.

“Congressman Johnson believes we should revise and supplement history with statues of other Americans who have contributed to our collective experience and story. The goal should be revision and inclusion as opposed to the obliteration of the nation’s history,” Johnson spokesman Andy Phelan said.

The Lithonia-based congressman is perhaps the most liberal lawmaker in Georgia’s congressional delegation, so the comment might come as a surprise. Unless you realize that Stone Mountain Park and its massive Confederate bas relief  lies entirely in his district.

It’s also worth noting that Johnson is backing state Rep. Stacey Abrams of Atlanta in the Democratic race for governor. She’s called for sandblasting the carving off Stone Mountain.

***

We told you earlier this morning that Leo Smith, a former state GOP staffer, is now seeking the District 6 Senate seat held by Hunter Hill of Atlanta, who is running for governor.

Also running for that seat: Leah Aldridge, a GOP attorney who is the former president of a non-profit called “Healthy Mothers Healthy Babies.”

***

The Tweets from President Donald Trump this morning:

Publicity seeking Lindsey Graham falsely stated that I said there is moral equivalency between the KKK, neo-Nazis & white supremacists……

…and people like Ms. Heyer. Such a disgusting lie. He just can’t forget his election trouncing.The people of South Carolina will remember!

And this dip into Arizona Senate politics:

Great to see that Dr. Kelli Ward is running against Flake Jeff Flake, who is WEAK on borders, crime and a non-factor in Senate. He’s toxic!

***

Meanwhile, the Washington Post and several other news outlets are reporting on the odd interview that White House strategist Steve Bannon gave to a writer with the liberal American Prospect, in which he attacked white supremacists as “clowns” and “losers” and took issue with President Donald Trump’s tough-talking policy toward North Korea.

Reader Comments 7

105 comments
Ed Williams
Ed Williams

Today, The Confederate carving on Stone Mountain is rebranded with lasers, animated with colored beams of lights to glorify the image as if it is coming back to life.
None of these men in the carving were from Georgia, There was no battle at Stone Mountain, and there is no one buried at Stone Mountain. So why is it called a Confederate Memorial?
We do not seek to destroy history but to tell the true story. The defenders seek to rebrand the symbolism of oppression and terrorism as art and history. The Confederates States of America sought to spread slavery and wanted to continue it in its Constitution. The carving on Stone Mountain is a legacy of the KKK and the United Daughters of the Confederacy. The moment the statues and monuments were created the lie was told. It is not history.
Some say let it be, why make trouble? just accept things as they are. I dream in color and I reject history that excludes my story. 'There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?'During the fifties and sixties, Dr. King was advised to slow down, and not push too hard or fast. His response. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of Now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism.Martin Luther King, Jr., I Have a Dream, August 28, 1963.
Fifty years later some are still struggling for economic and civil rights. When you're near the bottom or in the minority, you are told often to take a slow and gradual approach, change takes time. However, if you are in the majority or position of power then a fast track approach is often taken, force is used or the rules are defined to achieve the desired outcome. Sign the Petition. https://www.change.org/p/change-or-remove-stone-mountain-confederate-carving

Woody Highsmith
Woody Highsmith

Looky Here, the TRUE STORY and TRUE HISTORY of the Battle of Stone Mountain:  Ed must have flunked history or doesn't mind telling a lie:"On July 18, 1864 1000 Confederate cavalrymen of Dibrell’s Brigade fought a delaying action in Stone Mountain Village against 4000 Federals under General Kenner Garrard who were intent on destroying the railroad. On November 16, 1864, a portion of Sherman’s left wing camped in and around Stone Mountain Village on the first night of the March to the Sea. (Stone Mountain’s historic African-American neighborhood, Shermantown, was named in his honor.) Sherman’s troops destroyed miles of railroad track from Stone Mountain Village to Lithonia, heating the rails and twisting them around trees making “Sherman’s Neckties” and upon departure, burned the depot."

VinceGavriledes
VinceGavriledes

Take your petition and shove it where the sun don't shine.

janog
janog

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janog
janog

niceeeeeeeeeeeeee

Daryl Lampkin
Daryl Lampkin

Stone Mountain is a beautiful park that I used to visit.  After the gathering of certain groups on the Mountain and the results of the events that happened (a standoff with the police; I stopped going to the park).  The Daughters of the American Revolution had funded and retained the original artist of Mount Rushmore.  After removing all Native Americans they had the Father's of the Confederacy carved into the Mountain.  I look forward to World Travel.  Africa, South America, the Islands, the Pacific etc.

Billy Stephens
Billy Stephens

If this is removed,then all memorials honoring MLK should be removed also.

Debra Metzger
Debra Metzger

I don't care if it's Democrat or Republican or anyone... point is that monument is racism. Just destroy it!

Chad Donya Jackson Bishop
Chad Donya Jackson Bishop

If you erase The bad you erase the good and sacrifices those who fought for and won.. You can't tell part of a story with telling all.

Mike Pregon
Mike Pregon

Remove the party of the KKK, the democrat party.

MrSwaine231
MrSwaine231

The party of the KKK is the Republican Party of today. Sure, lets remove them. 

Sylvia Jean Teeters
Sylvia Jean Teeters

Regarding the four monuments which were removed in Baltimore while residents slept, the question I'd like to ask you is this: If you came home from work one day and discovered your neighbor had snuck into your house while you were away and destroyed all your family pictures, including pictures of your grandkids, what would you do?

Edward Brewer
Edward Brewer

Only GA would pass a law like this, and then say we are not racist.

Robin Rigdon
Robin Rigdon

God bless GA and yes, we are not racists but we are Georgians and if we Georgians say leave our property alone we mean that. 

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.

Sylvia Jean Teeters
Sylvia Jean Teeters

Liberals are always looking for a reason to hate America. Yesterday it was bathrooms, today it's statues. Tomorrow it will be something new.

Derrell Earl
Derrell Earl

Democrats can not run on real issues, so they have to conjure some kind of division, to try and have any relevance at all.......Monuments going , monuments staying , changes nothing... Just causes division for the present time.

Sally Williams
Sally Williams

I'm seeing the division in both parties, how many times have you yourself participated in it- I know I probably have at some point. If our nation does want to unify and come together we need to stop looking to others to bring us together and to try to remember that we're all Americans, let the hateful rhetoric go (that's sensationalized by the media for ratings and by politicians to keep their bases fired up), we all love our country and for the most part we agree about the problems we have but we feel differently about how to fix them. We as individuals need to be able to have courtesy and respect in our disagreements, we need to keep in mind that everyone has their own personal challenges, and experiences and bring different insight.

James Graham
James Graham

Obama spent 8 years Dividing this Country in half....And in less than a Year,Trump has brought everyone back together....Just last weekend,we had Neo-Nazis,Conservatives,Alt-Right,BLM,Antifa,Whites & Blacks all coming together for a Peaceful Protest in Unity against Hate....Yay...GOOD Wins again.

Joanna Lidia Mirage
Joanna Lidia Mirage

In a meanwhile another terrorist attack in Europe. Several dead and injured. This time Barcelona Spain.

Kathy Brown
Kathy Brown

For those who may be confused, AJC is the Atlanta Journal Constitution. Hope this helps those in pursuit of facts regarding the KKK's second. Coming up in Stone Mountain Georgia.

David Ross
David Ross

Let's all be honest. The single largest memorial to racism in American is the DEMOCRAT Party itself. It's sole purpose for existence was that of combating those that sought the destruction of slavery. It's time to tear it down. The Runaway Slave, The Documentary with CL Bryant will explain how many are still stuck on the plantation. Watch it and become a free individual for once in your life!

Dawn Strykr
Dawn Strykr

Democrats founded the KKK, betrayed the American people with the Federal Reserve act - which has enslaved every hard working americans to a private cabal of bankers. Democrats support and PUSH the funding of abortion - their eugenics program to remove the lower classes. They founded the federal department of dumbed down, propaganda education and allowed the suffering and murder of millions under Hitler's White Nation tyranny for eight years before enter WWII When they finally did enter WWII they took all the credit for "liberating" the camps they knew existed from 1933-1941. They are the masters of deception, deceiving even their victims.

Edward Brewer
Edward Brewer

No every state in the South is Republican, changed party's in 1960 from Democrat to Republican.

David Ross
David Ross

Edward Brewer that is a myth Democrats invented to bury the truth. Less than 1% of the elected Democrats who were in office prior to 1964 switched to the Republican Party. Proof being, people like George Wallace, Algore Sr., Robert Byrd and Lester Maddox remained Democrat. LBJ and JFK were the senators primarily responsible for the blocking of the 1957 Civil Rights bill pushed by the Republicans. Blacks began to switch from the Republican party in 1936 due to the government programs being put in place by Democrats despite them being racist. It's all fact that, if one is to be honest, you'd look and see for yourself.

Edward Brewer
Edward Brewer

So they all became Republicans, boy have you got things confused. LBJ worked to pass the Civil Rights laws thought Congress and remarked at the time you just gave the South to the Republican Party.

Edward Brewer
Edward Brewer

Prior to the passing of the Civil Rights laws the South was solid Democrat, because of the passing of those laws the minorities in the South moved to the Democrat Party. The Southern Democrats moved to the Republican Party.

David Ross
David Ross

The above link proves that less than 1% switched. As the Democrat became more liberal and more socialist the Conservative party (Republican) began to increase it's numbers. The link above give a concise list of those that switched from State seats to national. Again if you are to be honest you'd acknowledge the numbers do not support your claim.

David Ross
David Ross

Edward Brewer I used leftist sites to prove my point and so did you. Wonder which ones are factual? Certainly must be "The Atlantic". \U0001f606

Robin Rigdon
Robin Rigdon

In case you forgot Jimmy Carter was our governor. You need to check on that maybe. Most people I know in GA are not registered under either party (like myself).

Fenton Dean
Fenton Dean

Since most seem to ignore the national argument read this. This started with Gen Lee's statue and the misconception that he owned slaves. General Lee NEVER owned slaves. Near the the end of the war he became the Executor of another's Estate. As the Executor, Lee had the legal responsibility of disposing of these slaves. Lee did his required duty and never bought a slave.

Sonceraee Yeldell
Sonceraee Yeldell

Fenton Dean, nice try. General Lee owned slaves inherited from his father and married into a slave owning family, relative of George Washington. He did not free them, as his father's will requested, because he kept them to work off the estate's debts. He did not buy any more, because their children were automatically slaves. We do know that Lee resigned his US Army commission, when Virginia seceded and became leader of the confederate forces. He, like others, was stripped of his American citizenship and died, before he regained it. The truth! http://www.politico.com/story/2010/07/house-restores-citizenship-to-robert-e-lee-july-22-1975-040085

Fenton Dean
Fenton Dean

Sonceraee Yeldell nice try but citing Politco is like asking Obama if ObamaCare is a good healthplan. If you actually new the facts, you would know it was not Gen Lee's father, but his wife's. Gen Lee was her father's estate executor. He had to dispose of all assets. His father-in-law's slaves were merely in Lee's temporary custody and not owned.

Robin Rigdon
Robin Rigdon

That should be denied it based on a "lost" article of allegiance that Pres Ford found in the archives and restored him his rightful citizenship. That is the WHOLE Truth

Walt Yancey
Walt Yancey

Thank God it is not Atlanta law!!!!!

Jenna Milam Baird
Jenna Milam Baird

Stacey Abrams wants to destroy a museum? Stone Mountain IS A MUSEUM.

Janine Za
Janine Za

If you wear the oppressive fabric COTTON - you're a RACIST!! 🤷🏻‍♀️. - Better get to work knocking down the Egyptian Pyramids and the Great Wall of China too...! 🤷🏻‍♀️

Marcia Suits Dennis
Marcia Suits Dennis

No sue we sure don't want obummer head on our stone mountain it's good like it is leave it along proud of our state georgia

Sue H Scdoris
Sue H Scdoris

Save stone mountain leave it alone we love it the way it is we don't want tramp head up their it will ruin it

Paul Spencer
Paul Spencer

The Democrats are embarrassed by their legacy.

Greg P Bates
Greg P Bates

save it by emblazoning 'Never Again' along the bottom of it.

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  3. […] will take up a resolution this evening asking the state Legislature to reconsider a state law that prohibits local governments in Georgia from removing or relocating the Confederate memorials in their […]

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  5. […] will take up a resolution this evening asking the state Legislature to reconsider a state law that prohibits local governments in Georgia from removing or relocating the Confederate memorials in their […]

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  6. […] One is the 2001 bargain, made as part of the deal to bring down the ’56 flag, that bars local governments from touching the many Confederate monuments that dot this state. […]

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