Atlanta installing markers to give context to Confederate monuments

ATLANTA — The City of Atlanta has given final approval for the installation of large exhibit markers meant to contextualize Confederate monuments.

The move comes after two years of discussions and committees focused on how to put the history of slavery, the Confederacy and the Civil War into full context.

Those large marker exhibits are set to be installed next week alongside Piedmont Park’s Peace Monument, Buckhead’s Peachtree Battle marker and the Confederate Obelisk in Oakland Cemetery.

“I’m really excited that this journey is about to come to an end, though it’s really the beginning in terms of civic dialogue about these monuments,” said Atlanta History Center CEO Sheffield Hale.

Hale was appointed by former Mayor Kasim Reed to co-chair a committee behind the $11,000, which the History Center is financing.

The committee was made up of community members, civil rights leaders and city leaders who grappled with addressing Confederate symbols in the wake of Charlottesville’s racially charged violence in 2017.

CLICK HERE to read more about the committee organization from our news exchange partners at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and AJC.com.

Part of the project led to the renaming of Confederate Avenue, but statutes prevented the removal of monuments.

“Georgia is one of those states where you’re not permitted to move or relocate (monuments),” Hale said. “And so, if that’s off the table and you have concerns about the monuments, we believe the best thing you can do is to contextualize them, and that’s to turn them into an outdoor exhibit.”

City Council members Carla Smith, Natalyn Archibong and Michael Julian Bond were appointed by Bottoms to lead a subcommittee effort on the markers.

Archibong told Channel 2 Action News Investigative Reporter Nicole Carr that they are meant to add clarity to the stories behind the monuments.

“It brings it forward to a time where all parties are respected, and it is accurate and not inflaming or historically incorrect,” Archibong said. “The contextualization doesn’t deny our history. It gives it an additional level of accuracy so that people can process it.”

“It’s the start of a dialogue and that’s what’s so different from what other cities have done,” Hale said.