Will Stone Mountain Change?

For years there have been protests, clashes, economic boycotts, and proposals to change what one might call the Confederate Mt. Rushmore, Stone Mountain. Writers and bloggers alike (including me) have written pages to this controversial and gigantic Confederate Monument. Standing at nearly 1,700 ft. above sea level the mountain has a commanding presence in the surrounding Georgia landscape and perhaps even more so in the minds of Confederate apologists and social activists. For some, the mountain represents a homage and family attraction that celebrates history. To others, the mountain represents perhaps the largest monument to white supremacy in the world.

According to the AJC, earlier this week an advocacy group named the Stone Mountain Action Coalition proposed numerous changes ranging from removal, relocation, and contextualization of the Stone Mountain Monument. To let them speak for themselves:

On September 14, 2020, SMAC members presented stories of impacted individuals and organizations, the legal groundwork authorizing the SMMA to enact changes, and a proposal for immediate and near-term changes. As a good-faith starting point for change, SMAC proposes to change street and Park feature names that currently honor Confederate and Ku Klux Klan figures, remove all of the Confederate flags flown in the Park, provide appropriate historical contextualization, and end maintenance of the Confederate carving. The full proposal can be viewed online along with a form to provide additional input and ideas. 

Stone Mountain Action Coalition Presents Proposal for the Park’s Healing, Transformation and Progress.

It is worth noting that the Stone Mountain Memorial Association, the self supporting state of Georgia authority response for the memorial’s upkeep, is open to change. How much change remains to be seen as the SMMA is keeping things pretty close to chest. Admittedly, it will probably be less than what SMAC is looking for.

It is worth noting as well that the Stone Mountain Memorial is protected by state law. Any change that is brought about by the Stone Mountain Memorial Association will have to undergo approval which just does not seem likely in the state’s political climate. Regardless, the conversations between SMAC and the SMMA are encouraging to say the least and hopefully (fingers crossed) this relationship can bridge communities as opposed to segregate them.

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