Early this morning, state Rep. Stacey Abrams of Atlanta, a Democratic candidate for governor, roiled the waters with a series of Twitter messages in which she argued that the Confederate carving on the face of Stone Mountain should be erased. From one:
“We must never celebrate those who defended slavery and tried to destroy the union.”
Two things have emerged this afternoon. First, on Sunday, as part of her own reaction to the fatal eruption by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Va., former state lawmaker LaDawn Jones posted on her blog a description of an encounter she had with Abrams, then House minority leader, in 2015.
Jones is backing state Rep. Stacey Evans of Smyrna in the Democratic race for governor.
In the days following the massacre of nine black church-goers in Charleston, S.C., Jones said she had wanted to tackle the topic of Stone Mountain and its Confederate symbolism. Jones said Abrams refused to even raise the topic with the House Democratic Caucus.
We have a request for comment into the Abrams campaign.
Secondly, we asked Evans for her position on Stone Mountain and Confederate symbolism, and have received this response:
"Georgians must unite around what connects us rather than cling to what divides us. We must always commemorate the past with an eye towards the future, which means we can—and must—honor the past without memorializing hate.
“I am in favor of HB 760, which was sponsored by my good friend and supporter, [former] Rep. LaDawn Jones. This legislation would require the agency overseeing Stone Mountain Park to maintain an appropriate, inclusive, and historically accurate memorial to the Civil War—not the Confederacy.
“I also believe we should repeal any provision of Georgia law that restricts state or local governments from altering or removing local monuments or street names that glorify the Confederacy, so we can ensure that these memorials are given the appropriate historical context and do not glorify a hateful past.
“Overall, we must always commemorate history in context, especially around the Civil War and slavery. And we must never lose sight of the fact that slavery and the racism and state-enforced oppression of African Americans that followed it are a terrible shame for our nation and we must work every day to eliminate the harm caused and finally achieve real equality for everyone.
“I’m proud to have the support of former Gov. Roy Barnes, who sacrificed his re-election to do right by Georgia and take down Georgia’s segregation-era state flag. The Georgia Legislative Black Caucus has been leading on the issue of how the state can heal our shameful past when it comes to treatment of African Americans, and I look forward to working with them as governor to move our state forward.
“As governor, helping lead the dialogue on these issues will be one of my most important tasks. I have been, and will always be, a champion to Georgians who wish to promote equality, healing, and respect."