Just when you thought the Confederate flag controversy was going away, it looks like we’re in for another round of outrage from secession apologists and the “heritage, not hate” crowd.
Stone Mountain, Georgia was the scene of some heated protests earlier this year over the Confederate flag. Now, it has been announced that a monument to Martin Luther King, Jr will be built on top of the same mountain.
Via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:
On the summit of Stone Mountain, yards away from where Ku Klux Klansmen once burned giant crosses, just above and beyond the behemoth carving of three Confederate heroes, state authorities have agreed to erect a monument to the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
Specifically, an elevated tower — featuring a replica of the Liberty Bell — would celebrate the single line in the civil rights martyr’s 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech that makes reference to the 825-foot-tall hunk of granite: “Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.” (Source)
Naturally, Confederate groups are having an absolute fit over this. The problem for them is that there isn’t anything they can do about it because the monument will be paid for with park fees and other revenues, so the Georgia Legislature can’t block funding for it.
Earlier this year, Gov. Nathan Deal stated that calls to remove the carving of the three Confederate figures from the mountain were “not useful.” This certainly elated organizations like League of the South and Neo-Nazis, who now have to feel utterly betrayed that Gov. Deal has supported adding the memorial to Martin Luther King Jr to the top of the mountain.
One confederate veterans group (the last Southern veteran of the war is believed to have died in the 1950s) claims that the proposed monument would be “repugnant to Christian people.”
“The erection of monuments to anyone other than Confederate heroes in Stone Mountain Park is in contradistinction to the purpose for which the park exists and would make it a memorial to something different,” the group said in a statement, which misstated King’s name.
“Monuments to either Michael King or soldiers of any color who fought against the Confederacy would be a violation of the purpose for which the park was created and exists,” the group said. “The erection of a monument to anything other than the Confederate Cause being placed on top of Stone Mountain because of the objections of opponents of Georgia’s Confederate heritage would be akin to the state flying a Confederate battle flag atop the King Center in Atlanta against the wishes of King supporters.
“Both would be altogether inappropriate and disrespectful acts, repugnant to Christian people.” (Source)
“Repugnant to Christian people”? Seriously?
Let’s look at the history of Stone Mountain and determine what is repugnant to most Americans, not just Christians. Stone Mountain was the site of the resurrection of the KKK in 1915 by William J. Simmons, after D.W. Griffith’s “The Birth of a Nation” film which depicted the Klan as heroes. The carving was originally abandoned due to a lack of funds, but after the state of Georgia bought the land, work began again – around the same time the Southern uproar over the Civil Rights Act and desegregation was at a fever pitch.
Like it or not, the “heritage not hate” argument is bogus, and the fact that these individuals are so worked up over a monument to Martin Luther King Jr being on the same mountain as a carving of three men who sought to protect the institution of slavery is proof of that. Georgia may not be able to erase history, but it can certainly try to make things right, and this monument on Stone Mountain is a big step in that direction.
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