Georgia’s Stone Mountain used to be the meeting site of white supremacy group the Ku Klux Klan in the early 1900s, but if a new proposal passes, a tower that includes a bell with the line, “Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia,” from Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech will be erected at the peak.
Installing a monument for King in an area where the Confederate legacy is still alive is a bold move in the right direction to display the two sides of American history. The monument will stand right by the carvings of Confederate war heroes Robert E. Lee, Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson and Jefferson Davis.
The Washington Post reported that the monument would serve to broaden the story of the Confederacy that is featured in the park. What is also great about the monument, should it be constructed, is it will serve as a way to lend a voice to a group of people who were marginalized for so long and still continue to have their history be dismissed.
However, the proposal has been met with some backlash from civil rights activists as reported by the Washington Post.
Atlanta NAACP President Richard Rose said he is opposed to having King’s image next to Confederate leaders who fought to maintain slavery, calling it an insult to King’s legacy.
State law allows for the Confederate memorial to stay in place, but there is no viable reason as to why a different perspective on the history of the South should not be added, especially since the community surrounding the park has become predominantly African-American, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
In many aspects, America has not changed since the days of MLK. This country still has a long way to go when it comes to racial equality, and an even portrayal of history on the “Confederate Mt. Rushmore” is a good a place to start.