Because Stone Mountain is known for its role in chronicling the history of the Confederacy and White supremacy, the city’s mayor is hoping Stone Mountain can move some of its civil rights and justice initiatives forward; one proposal includes a slavery museum.
The city council is expected to review a resolution in November requesting the Stone Mountain Memorial Association (SMMA)—a state of Georgia entity charged with self-sufficiently managing the state-owned park—create a museum on the “Atrocities of Slavery.” The current proposal suggests the slavery museum be located inside Memorial Hall of Stone Mountain Park, the home of a controversial Confederate memorial carving and reported birthplace of the Ku Klux Klan.
“I think it’s important to show people we are together as one in this city,” said Stone Mountain Mayor Patricia Wheeler at the Oct. 6 council meeting. “Let’s make it fit us as a city that we want to be proud of that we move forward to help move the justice system along because that’s what we are and are looking to be a member of.”
While council members will be reviewing and suggesting input on the resolution ahead of its November meeting, the current draft suggests that SMMA consider removing all Confederate artifacts from Memorial Hall and relocate them to the Confederate Hall building at the park.
Currently, Memorial Hall has a gift shop, two theaters, and a museum that includes artifacts and exhibits about ancient civilizations that lived on the mountain to the present day, Native Americans and pioneer settlers, the Civil War and how Stone Mountain granite helped build the local economy, according to the Stone Mountain Park website.
Several protests have been held recently at the park calling for removal of the mountain’s Confederate carving, with many viewing it as a symbol glorifying slavery and White supremacy.
“The dangerous conditions that these symbols create at the park and in the city of Stone Mountain are neither appropriate nor suitable for the people of Georgia,” states Stone Mountain Action Coalition on its website. “While SMMA’s hands may be tied by state law regarding some aspects of the memorial, there are many action steps that the SMMA can and should take now.”
SMAC is an advocacy network of people with a goal to “provide solutions for a new, inclusive, and appropriate vision for Stone Mountain Park.”
The group plans to present its recommendations at SMMA’s Nov. 16 meeting.