Political Notes – Once more, a mountain and a Confederate controversy

[private]This year saw the conclusion of the 150th anniversary observance of the Civil War, but it hardly means the end of political controversies involving the Confederacy and its symbols.

If anything, the battle over the Confederate flag and assorted memorials to the Southern cause is just getting started.

The latest skirmish concerns Stone Mountain Park and the announcement over the weekend that the park’s operators plan to place a monument atop the granite outcropping in honor of civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr.

The King memorial would provide a counterpoint to the carvings on the side the mountain that honor Robert E. Lee and Jefferson Davis. Black politicians like state Rep. LaDawn Jones (D-Atlanta), who earlier called for a boycott of the state park, seemed to be okay with that proposal.

“The confederate battle flag has been used as a symbol of white superiority from the time of the Civil War to the state’s use of it in protest against school desegregation,” Jones said in an op-ed column.

“The choice to leave the flag flying next to the American flag at the base of the mountain where the KKK was re-formed and where black and Jewish men were lynched is still a bad idea,” she said, but added: “I hope that the purpose for leaving the confederate flags on the poles is to include quotes from the flags designers about the flag being made to display ‘white supremacy’ so we can finally bust this ‘heritage not hate’ myth.”

Confederate heritage groups predictably were not happy at the idea of recognizing a black civil rights leader at the mountain.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans contended that putting an MLK memorial on Stone Mountain would be “a possible violation of the law which established the Stone Mountain Memorial Association and charged it with promoting the mountain as a Confederate memorial.”

“The erection of a monument to anything other than the Confederate cause being placed on top of Stone Mountain because of the objections of opponents of Georgia’s Confederate heritage would be akin to the state flying a Confederate battle flag atop the King Center in Atlanta against the wishes of King supporters,” the group said in a prepared statement.

The sharp division over this latest development in Confederate symbols means the issue will likely be debated front and center during the upcoming legislative session.

Coincidentally, Douglas County District Attorney Brian Fortner has announced the indictment of Confederate flag supporters who had a confrontation with a black family hosting a birthday party in July.

Fifteen members of a group called “Respect the Flag” were indicted on charges stemming from Georgia’s Street Gang Terrorism and Prevention Act, Fortner said.

Executive appointments

Gov. Nathan Deal’s office announced the following appointments to state boards and commissions –

Juvenile Justice State Advisory Group: Todd Ashley of Milton, deputy director of the Prosecuting Attorneys’ Council of Georgia.

Nonpublic Postsecondary Education Commission: Mollie Cohen of Whigham, marketing director at the Pecan Ridge Plantation.

Stone Mountain Memorial Association: Ray Smith of Atlanta, head of the litigation department for Smith & Liss.

Veterans Service Board: Daniel Cravey of Milner, the retired director of the claims and appeals division of the Department of Veterans Service.

Georgia World War I Centennial Commission: Gordon Sawyer of Gainesville, a retired advertising executive.

© 2015 by The Georgia Report

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Tags: Confederate flag , Confederate heritage groups , Martin Luther King memorial , Stone Mountain