The Atlanta branch of the NAACP marched on Stone Mountain on Wednesday, calling for the removal of the granite carving of three Confederate leaders.
“Our objective was to make a statement,” the chapter’s president Richard Rose said after the protest. “Ours is an attempt to educate people to unlearn the white supremacy, bigotry and divisiveness they have been taught for decades.”
Stone Mountain is one of several monuments around that nation that have been the subject of protests as the nation wrestles with the appropriateness of memorials to the Civil War and controversial racially divisive leaders.
The issue came to a head last summer in Charlottesville, Va., when a woman was killed after a white nationalist allegedly drove his car into a crowd of counter-protestors during a demonstration to protect a statue of Confederate general Robert E. Lee from being dismantled.
The carvings have come up in the Georgia governor’s race. Stacey Abrams, the Democratic nominee, has also called for the removal of the carvings. Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle and Secretary of State Brian Kemp, who are competing in a runoff to become the Republican nominee for governor, have both said they would fight any attempt to get rid of them. Other leaders have advocated a different approach. DeKalb CEO Mike Thurmond, who serves on the Stone Mountain Memorial Association, has backed making changes to the park to add context to its Confederate symbolism.
Rose said he hopes to bring more attention to his effort to remove the Stone Mountain carving through workshops and conferences later this year. That will include putting a spotlight on Stone Mountain when Atlanta hosts the Super Bowl in early 2019.
“We are going to continue our efforts through the Super Bowl,” he said “We want the whole world to see.”