ATLANTA (CN) – Inspired by the recent removal of the Confederate flag from government properties throughout the South, the Atlanta chapter of the NAACP has called for erasing the massive carving of Civil War icons from Stone Mountain, Georgia.
The depictions of Confederate president Jefferson Davis and Confederate Army generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson are carved on the north side of the 825-foot high granite mountain. The carving is 200 feet tall and larger than Mount Rushmore.
Stone Mountain Park, which is state-owned, is a historic tourist attraction northeast of Atlanta. Among its attractions is a Civil War museum.
In 1915, members of the Ku Klux Klan burned a flag on the top of Stone Mountain, and Dr. Mr. Luther King Jr. referenced Stone Mountain in his 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech, saying “Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.”
Public outcry to remove Confederate symbols from state properties across the South has increased following June’s racially-motivated mass shooting at Mother Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, a Black church in Charleston, South Carolina.
After much debate, the South Carolina state Legislature voted to remove the Confederate flag from state grounds.
Last week, the Confederate flag was stolen from Stone Mountain Park and quickly replaced. The Atlanta branch of the NAACP is pushing for the removal of all Confederate symbols in Stone Mountain Park and all government properties in Georgia.
Atlanta NAACP President Richard Rose says the carving was “commissioned out of hate and white supremacy” and has no place on public property. Rose added the state’s ownership of the property is “government-sponsored hate.”
But John Bankhead, president of the Stone Mountain Memorial Association, contends that the park does not rely on tax dollars, and the state government would have to approve the removal of the Confederate symbols.
A MoveOn.org petition has circulated in recent days to add a carving of Atlanta rap duo Outkast next to the Confederate figures. The petition was started by artist Mack Williams, who wrote that the carving of Davis, Lee and Jackson “only represents a small, regrettable time” in Georgia’s history, and that it’s “high time we added a bit more of our culture and history to this monument.”
As of Friday afternoon, the petition to carve the likenesses of Outkast members Andre 3000 and Big Boi has garnered more than 8,500 signatures.
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