Stone Mountain Park board announces changes including new museum, logo

DEKALB COUNTY, Ga. — The Stone Mountain Memorial Association has released the first in a series of changes and additions to the Confederate imagery at the park.

The association met at 1 p.m. Monday to pass the series of resolutions to “intended to begin the process of balancing Stone Mountain Park’s historic mission as a Confederate Memorial, with today’s broader realities of it being metro Atlanta’s largest green space and Georgia’s most visited tourism destination.”

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One of the changes includes a new museum exhibit inside Memorial Hall, which will tell the “warts and all” history of the Stone Mountain Carving, acknowledging the reformation of the Ku Klux Klan atop the mountain in 1915, as with the 50 years of Klan rallies that followed.

The resolution also calls for a new logo for the park. The Confederate flag plaza on the walkup trail at the base of the mountain will move into something called “Valor Park.”

Channel 2′s Richard Elliot was at the park, where the group said that this is a compromise they know won’t make everyone happy.

Stone Mountain Memorial Association CEO Bill Stephens said COVID-19 and the park’s affiliation with the Confederacy have combined to cut Stone Mountain Park’s revenue from 2019 to 2020 by 56%.

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Stone Mountain Park was the site of several demonstrations last summer. A coalition of citizens and activists have again asked the board in charge for changes.

One Confederate monument supporter Elliot talked to said he was OK with the changes.

“It’s not the destruction of the monument, you know,” Eric Cleveland said. “They moved the flags. As long as they put them in a place of honor, I don’t have a terrible issue with it.”

But some said they don’t go nearly far enough.

A woman who only wanted to be identified as Okanona didn’t mind expressing her opinion on the Confederate imagery at the park.

“I think it’s disgusting that I have to walk past Robert E. Lee and that huge carving there,” Okanona said.

John Evans said it is time to “eliminate the Confederacy and move on.”

The association is creating a seven-person commission to look at even more changes to the park down the road, including possibly removing Confederate general street names.

The board is limited by state laws as what they can and can’t do with the monuments. Members of two local NAACP chapters say their boycotts of the park will continue.

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