• Monument to MLK will crown Stone Mountain


    DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. - A new push by a columnist at The Atlanta Journal Constitution will likely change the face of Stone Mountain.

    AJC political columnist Jim Galloway says there's a lack of material at Stone Mountain Park that speaks to its neighbors, who are primarily African-American.

    On Stone Mountain, there are carvings of Confederate war heroes and a Confederate flag that flies next to an American flag.

    Check out MLK in Memphis for archived video of Dr. King. 

    The debate over Confederate symbolism following the massacre at a historically black South Carolina church gave Galloway an idea.

    He wrote a column for the paper explaining that a line from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I have a dream" speech should be etched into Stone Mountain.

    The park took notice, and so did Gov. Nathan Deal.

    “The governing body of Stone Mountain and the private company here, they went far beyond that and they decided there ought to be a monument,” Deal said.

    An elevated tower — featuring a replica of the Liberty Bell — would celebrate the single line in the civil rights martyr’s 1963 “I Have a Dream” speech that makes reference to the 825-foot-tall hunk of granite: “Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia.”

    "It is one of the best-known speeches in U.S. history,” said Bill Stephens, the chief executive officer of the Stone Mountain Memorial Association. “We think it’s a great addition to the historical offerings we have here.”

    The “freedom bell” will, in fact, sound from the mountaintop. How often, or when, hasn’t been determined.

    Galloway said Deal has signed off on the plans for the state park.

    Because King’s 1963 speech is copyrighted, permission of King’s heirs will be required. “Discussions have taken place with the King family and are taking place now,” Stephens said. “Their initial reaction is very favorable. But we haven’t completed those discussions yet.”

    Both the monument and exhibit are answers to a renewed debate over government-sponsored Confederate displays in the South.

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