STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. — A big change is coming to Stone Mountain Park. The state has dedicated $11 million to building a “truth-telling museum,” one that park officials say will cover the monument’s racist past.
Some people are concerned about the use of state money for the project.
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It’s expected to take about two years to complete the museum at Memorial Hall. The Memorial Association says it will have 10 sections. One of the sections will be called “Monuments and Mythmaking.”
Stone Mountain looms large not only on the landscape but in the conscience of Georgia.
With its carving of Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and Jefferson Davis, it is the world’s largest Confederate monument.
”It’s a long and complicated story. it’s not very pretty in some parts of it, but we think it’s important to tell the whole story about the park,” Bill Stephens, the CEO of the Stone Mountain Memorial Association, told Channel 2′s Bryan Mims.
He said the museum will tell the story of the monument’s origins in 1915, which coincided with the resurgence of the Ku Klux Klan atop Stone Mountain.
It, too, will tell the story of the state’s purchase of the mountain in the late 50s and how then-Governor Marvin Griffin had the carving finished to defy integration.
“He wanted to make a point, and that’s part of the story. it’s not the whole story, but that’s just part of it,” Stephens said.
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Brian Morris of the Stone Mountain Action Coalition said he supports a museum that tells the truth behind the memorial but would rather see state money spent to remove the park’s confederate symbols.
“I’m concerned about state dollars going toward this project to continue to perpetuate lost cause initiatives,” Morris said. “Change the roads from Robert E. Lee Boulevard to something more reflective of where Georgia is today.”
Warner Museums, based in Birmingham, Alabama will design the exhibit.
“We hope it’ll be a Smithsonian-like exhibit,” Stephens said.
Park visitors who spoke with Channel 2 Action News said they want the whole story to be told.
It’s expected to take about two years to complete the museum at Memorial Hall.
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