At its peak, the Confederate era proved to be one of the most racially-segregated periods in American history. It’s for that very reason and countless others that many Confederate statues have either already been or are in the process of being removed across the nation.
Unfortunately we can’t erase all traces of Confederacy, including the annual Confederate Memorial Day primarily celebrated by The Sons of Confederate Veterans. Even with current efforts from various activists to right the wrongs of America’s past, this organization still managed to get approval on a CMD event at Stone Mountain Park in Georgia by the park officials themselves.
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According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Stone Mountain Memorial Association granted permission for the Confederate Memorial Day event to go down based on reasoning that it’s a yearly tradition for the gathering to occur in front of a Mount Rushmore-style rock carving of Confederate Civil War leaders Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee. The association’s CEO Bill Stephens refers to the yearly gathering as “small and respectful,” but it’s hard to ignore what each of those men represent when it comes to slavery, segregation and racist ideologies in general.
More background behind their decision to approve the Confederate Memorial Day event below, via AJC:
“Responding to questions about the decision to allow the event this time around, Stephens said First Amendment rights and state law (which mandates that Stone Mountain Park be maintained as a monument to the Confederacy) had to be considered.
‘As we continue to move back towards a new normal,’ Stephens wrote in an emailed statement, ‘we will begin to receive more requests for gatherings and parades from all quarters, and unless law enforcement intelligence issues us a warning of potential violence or a ‘clear and present danger,’ then we will err towards maintaining an open and welcoming environment.’
The Stone Mountain Action Coalition is an activist group that continues to push for changes to Confederate tributes at the park, up to and including the removal of the carving — the creation of which spanned decades and has ties not just to the Jim Crow Era and the Ku Klux Klan but also to white Georgia leaders’ resistance to federally mandated desegregation.”
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Activists have since come forward to call out the Stone Mountain Memorial Association for a “tone deaf” decision, which is expected to draw over 200 people to the park on the morning of April 30. Of those will be keynote speaker Martin O’Toole, a leader with Atlanta-based white nationalist organization The Charles Martel Society.
Man, do we have a long road ahead when it comes to racial unity..
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