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.