DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — One of the gubernatorial candidates is calling for the removal of Confederate statues and monuments from around the state, including Stone Mountain's Civil War carving.
The Democratic party front-runner for governor, Stacy Abrams, said the carving of three Confederate leaders at Stone Mountain, which is designated by state law as an official Confederate memorial site, should be removed.
"It is 2017, and now is the time for us to have a conversation about removing the last vestiges of that type of hatred and that type of vitriol toward minority communities in Georgia," Abrams told Channel 2's Richard Elliot.
spoke to a woman who works for the social justice group Indivisible and lives in Stone Mountain.
"It's there, and nobody is going to be able to blast it away," Meymoona Freeman said.
She said a diverse community has defined and repurposed the space, where the Ku Klux Klan once met.
"I'm more interested in the community than I am a piece of concrete," she said.
The Georgia NAACP wants the state to remove all Confederate monuments - something that only the state legislature or local governments can actually do - not the governor.
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One of those monuments is tucked away behind the old DeKalb County Courthouse.
Bruce Caldwell said he never really noticed the monument until now. But now he wants it taken down.
"I think that it's about time that it should come down; 109 years is long enough," Caldwell told Elliot.
Bernard Adams said he doesn't really care if the monuments stay. He says removing them won't remove racism.
“It's history, that's all it is. If, you know, we talk about racism, racism isn't a symbol, it's a person,” Adams said.
Alex Susor told Elliot that he wants the Decatur monument taken down but not destroyed. He'd like to see it placed with signage putting it in a historical context.
He also said the Stone Mountain carving should stay, but also with a new context.
“It is a work of public art that is a defining feature of the Stone Mountain park, and I think it needs to be put in a proper historical context, including its association with the KKK,” Susor said.
The Stone Mountain Memorial Association said in a statement: "In recent weeks, many on both side of the argument have said that these Confederate symbols belong in places where we view historical artifacts, cush as museums. In Georgia, Stone Mountain serves that purpose."
Cox Media Group