DeKalb County

New statue of John Lewis to stand in spot where Confederate memorial once stood in Decatur Square

DECATUR, Ga. — The DeKalb County Board of Commissioners has approved a plan to build a statue of the late Rep. John Lewis in the same spot where a Confederate statue once stood.

The board approved the plan last week.

The statue, once done, will sit in the same spot as the Confederate Obelisk Monument in Decatur Square that was taken down in June 2020.

The obelisk was erected in 1908 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

The monument came down on the eve of Juneteenth — the holiday celebrating the day in 1865 when all enslaved Black people learned they had been freed from bondage — as workers chipped it loose and the crowd cheered.


A judge ordered that the obelisk be placed in storage indefinitely.

“The Task Force has determined acceptance of the proposed monument for placement on County property is an appropriate means to honor the life and legacy of the Congressman John Lewis and celebrate Congressman Lewis’ remarkable life and fight for civil rights, justice and equality,” the board said in the meeting minutes.

Lewis made his name known during the civil rights movement as he stood with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in their fight for justice in the face of segregation.

Lewis died in 2020 at age 80 after announcing he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He represented Georgia’s 5th Congressional District, which includes parts of DeKalb County and Atlanta, from 1987 until his death.

The building of the new statue of Lewis will not cost taxpayers anything.