Atlanta

New billboard calls for removal of Confederate monuments in Georgia

ATLANTA — The next time you’re driving north on the I-75/85 split, you may notice a billboard calling for the removal of Confederate monuments.

The billboard has in bold letters: “Remove the Confederate monument from our Capitol.”

Channel 2′s Chris Jose spoke to the Southern Poverty Law Center about the new billboard. They said it’s all part of a campaign that started in April during Confederate Heritage Month and it was important to roll out the billboard in Atlanta this week because we’re approaching Fourth of July.

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“We want as many people as possible to see and join community activists all across the South, and in Georgia in particular, in seeking to remove these symbols of the Confederacy from public space,” said Lecia Brooks with the SPLC. “If we hope to make any real end roads into dismantling foundations of white supremacy across this country, then removing Confederate symbols from public spaces is a good first step.”

While the social justice movement has gained steam, tension has bubbled up with those who think the monument should stay. Supporters say it’s part of history and their heritage.

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“My solution would be to put something to offset it. Next to it. In other words, we should keep it all, but tell it all, too,” Stone Mountain Park visitor Ray Johnson said.

“It’s history. Learn from our history, but leave our history,” park visitor June Johnson said.

Ashleigh Ewald and a group of students in Cobb County have called on the board of education there to change the name of Wheeler High School, which was named after Confederate General Joseph Wheeler.

“I feel like what we are doing is right,” Ewald said.

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In a presentation, the group pointed out Wheeler’s 74% minority enrollment, it has the sixth highest population of any public school in Georgia.

“We have hope that 20 years from now, students attending Wheeler can see who was on the right side of history,” Ewald said.

The Southern Poverty Law Center said the students from Wheeler contacted them last year. As of right now, there has been no movement from the board about renaming the high school.