Confederate monument has no takers

In 2017, DeKalb County commissioners voted to approve a resolution to find a legal way to remove a monument in downtown Decatur honoring the Confederacy.

Officials had to consider a state law passed in 2001 that states a Confederate monument cannot be moved from its original location or covered unless for preservation purposes.

After nearly a year, the monument has not been moved. The problem? No one wants it. According to county officials and proponents of the monument’s removal, multiple organizations have said they do not want the monument.

Georgia has almost 200 Confederate monuments, statues and markers—second only to Virginia.

A human rights advocacy group said they will not give up until the monument is removed from the Decatur square.  

According to a proposal from Hate Free Decatur, the organization wants to create a “dialogue space” around the monument to contextualize the monument by placing plaques around it describing the historical realities of slavery and social inequality.  

“The Truth, Restorative Justice, and Healing Place site will include an interfaith space where active listening, honest dialogue, education and organizing about race can happen—a place of truth-telling, restorative justice and healing,” the proposal stated.

Sara Patenaude, co-founder of Hate Free Decatur, said leaving the monument at its current location is not an option.

In January, DeKalb County commissioners officially voted to remove the monument, but ran into issues after receiving only a few suggestions of where to place it.

“We’ve gone to the county and they passed [a resolution] to remove and relocate it, then it became our responsibility to find somewhere for it to go,” Patenaude said. “Our idea is to take the monument somewhere else and contextualize it and recreate what it is all about.”

Patenaude said the group was working with a church in Stone Mountain, but eventually the church declined to have the monument on its property. Patenaude said she has also been working with faith leaders across Georgia to find a location for the monument.

“My hope is that we change the state law. We don’t want to ignore the history of this monument, but embrace the truth of it,” Patenaude said.   
Protests to remove some of Georgia’s Confederate monuments reached a boiling point in 2017 during a “Unite the Right” rally hosted by White nationalists in Charlottesville, Va., that resulted in the death of one person.

Patenaude said she is not discouraged by the amount of time it has taken to attempt to remove the monument.

“We want to get this done, but we want to do it the right way,” Patenaude said. “I keep reminding myself that it took New Orleans two years to remove their monuments. It’s so hard to be the first. New Orleans and Baltimore removed Confederate monuments, but we would still be the first [to remove a Confederate monument] in Georgia.”


One thought on “Confederate monument has no takers

  • October 3, 2018 at 9:23 am

    No one can take a 2 ton monument. The safety issues to consider a task like this alone is expensive. Tell Hate free Decatur to stop spreading hate.


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