In the continued controversy surrounding Confederate symbols in the South, more people are raising their voices in calls to make changes to the iconic carving on Stone Mountain, east of Atlanta, which features Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson and Confederate President Jefferson Davis.
The NAACP has called to have the carving completely removed, and an Atlanta artist has suggested adding hip-hop duo Outkast to the side of the mountain. Now the Atlanta City Council has come forward suggesting more additions to the face of Stone Mountain.
Councilman Michael Julian Bond is behind a resolution asking Deal to form a committee to study possible changes to the famous state-owned memorial.
Bond, who described the relief of Confederate generals as “art,” said he doesn’t believe it should be sandblasted off the face of the mountain. Instead, state leaders should explore adding others to the carving who reflect Georgia’s broader history, he said, such as James Oglethorpe, President Jimmy Carter or Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
“That would make Stone Mountain, I think, an enlightened place that reflects all of Georgia’s history,” he said. “…Georgia’s history is much greater than the four years of the Confederacy; it’s much more diverse and rich than that period which has been highly romanticized, particularly in the last 50 to 60 years.”
The council voted 9-2 to approve the resolution. Alex Wan, one of council members who voted against the resolution, weighed in on the vote.
“I’d be supportive of an affirmative statement, just in general, about our position on symbols that could be perceived as racist, but I feel this is a bit of a stretch for the council to do at this time,” said Wan, who grew up in Stone Mountain.
The offices of both Governor Deal and Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed chose not to comment.
A spokeswoman for Mayor Kasim Reed said Reed hasn’t yet reviewed the legislation and has no comment at this time.
A spokesman for the governor said they could not comment because they have not reviewed the proposal. In late June, the governor said he won’t rule out comprehensive changes to state laws that protect Confederate images, but urged against sweeping reactions to those symbols amid the recent uproar over the emblems, saying the state “cannot deny its heritage.”
Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock / Joseph Sohm