Georgia bill looks to ban Confederate monuments from public property

Georgia bill looks to ban Confederate monuments from public property

A group of state lawmakers has introduced a bill that could remove Georgia’s Confederate monuments from public property.

House Bill 1212 would ban Confederate monuments from public property except in Civil War battlefields and museums. Just one year ago, the Georgia General Assembly passed Senate Bill 77, which made it tougher to remove and replace monuments.

State Rep. Shelly Hutchinson, D-Snellville, is one of the six sponsors behind the new bill.

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“We are seeing all these protests, and the protests for the most part are peaceful, but the ones that aren’t they don’t feel heard,” Hutchinson told Channel 2′s Lauren Pozen. “We marched since the ’60s, ’50s and we still have Confederate monuments reminding us of where we came from.”

The ban would include the bronze statue of John Brown Gordon, which sits outside the Georgia State Capitol building and is often at the center of controversy.

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Aside from being a Confederate war commander, Gordon is generally believed to be a leader of the Ku Klux Klan in Georgia.

In a letter this weekend, 44 of Gordon’s ancestors asked Gov. Brian Kemp to remove the statue. The family said “the primary purpose of the statue was to celebrate and mythologize the white supremacists of the Confederacy.”

The Gordon statue has sat outside the Capitol since 1907.

“I am more worried about kids who have to walk past that monument. I am worried about the kids that go to Stone Mountain and see that at the side of the mountain. To me, that is the most important part and why we should do this,” Hutchinson said.

Hutchinson said removing the relics would allow to country to heal from a painful past.

“The first step to healing is truth and reconciliation the truth part is here. We’ve got that down. I mean they are everywhere. It is the reconciliation part that will heal the country.”

There is only about a week left in the 2020 legislative session. If it doesn’t pass, Hutchinson said she will refile in January when the new term begins. You can read the bill and check its status here.

Confederate monuments have been a big topic of conversation for years. But in the last couple of weeks, there have been some changes.

The monument that sat in Decatur Square for over 100 years came down Thursday. DeKalb leaders will now review other historical markers to see if they should go.

In Cobb County, one group is pushing back against Kennesaw leaders taking down the Confederate battle flag. It was removed last week from the war memorial.

In Floyd County, the conversation continues over what to do with Confederate statue at a local cemetery. The statue is of Nathan Bedford Forrest in Myrtle Hill Cemetery. City leaders say they will wait on the state to make a final decision.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution contributed to this report.

Confederate memorial removed from Decatur square