Petition to remake Confederate monument splits Georgians

Claudine Zap
Claudine Zap
The Lookout

Depending on whom you ask, the enormous monument carved into Georgia's Stone Mountain is either a proud statement or a blight and an embarrassment.

Depicting the only president of the Confederate States, Jefferson Davis, riding beside Gens. Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, it's two football fields wide, making it the largest of its kind.

The NBC station 11 Alive reports that a petition that seeks to remake this famous—and infamous—landmark is causing controversy.

"It's almost like a black eye or an embarrassing smudge on our culture," the petition's creator, McCartney Forde, told local 11.

Forde's online petition on calls for changes to be made to the mountainside carving, first conceived in 1923 by a charter member of the Daughters of the Confederacy but not completed until 1972.

He writes, “The three men embossed on the face of arguably the most famous landmark in the great state of Georgia are icons for what is widely considered the darkest period in our nation’s history. ... It is a monument that perpetuates the perception of Georgia as an icon of racism, slavery and oppression.”

Forde suggests that the current carving be removed and replaced with a monument to Georgia veterans.

So far, just 164 people have signed the petition, but the quest seems to be as controversial as the monument itself.

"We should not erase history," Calvin Johnson, Jr., a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, told the news station.

He added, "These guys [were] regarded very highly in the North and South after the War Between the States, and it's only been the last 30 or 40 years that I think what you call revisionist history began in this country."

Symbols of the Confederacy, which to many represent the pro-slavery history of the South, continue to stir up debate. A song by country singer Brad Paisley, “Accidental Racist,” recently caused an outcry because, among other things, it seemed to defend his wearing of a Confederate flag T-shirt.

"The only thing I meant to say is I'm a Skynyrd fan,” he sings.