The monument in downtown Decatur. Photo provided to Decaturish
Calls to remove a Confederate monument in Decatur grew louder on Monday after a petition quickly garnered more than 500 signatures.
The petition notes that removal of the monument is technically illegal in Georgia.
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Under state law, “No publicly owned monument or memorial erected, constructed, created, or maintained on the public property of this state or its agencies, departments, authorities, or instrumentalities in honor of the military service of any past or present military personnel of this state, the United States of America or the several states thereof, or the Confederate States of America or the several states thereof shall be relocated, removed, concealed, obscured, or altered in any fashion; provided, however, that appropriate measures for the preservation, protection, and interpretation of such monuments or memorials shall not be prohibited.”
The petition asks the state Legislature to change the law so communities can decide for themselves whether these memorials are appropriate.
Decatur’s City Manager has noted the county owns the monument, not the city.
The movement to move the monument has been talked about in recent months but gained steam after a chaotic white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va. on Saturday that resulted in the deaths of three people. A vigil in the Decatur square on Sunday, held in the shadow of that monument, drew hundreds of people.
Here is the full text of the petition:
Remove City of Decatur’s Confederate Memorial
Petition by Eric Erzinger
To be delivered to Howard Mosby, District 83 Representative, Elena Parent, State Senator, Patti Garrett, Mayor of Decatur, Fred Boykin, Mayor Pro Tem, Scott Drake, District 1 Commissioner and 12 other targets (click here to see more)
There is no place for hate in Decatur. After the horrendous display of racism, bigotry, and white supremacy in Charlottesville, we, the citizens of Decatur and DeKalb County, want to take a stand against white nationalism by removing one of its symbols, the Lost Cause Confederate Memorial found in our downtown square.
We the citizens of Decatur and DeKalb County Georgia want the “Lost Cause” Confederate Memorial removed from downtown Decatur Square (behind the historic courthouse). The memorial was erected in 1908 at the height of Jim Crow laws in Georgia. Lynchings were routine in Georgia, occurring at a rate of at least once a month. Two years prior, in 1906, African-Americans were hung from lamp posts during the “Atlanta Race Riot,” which was a riot consisting of white people terrorizing and brutalizing black people. The statue refers to those listed on the monument as a “covenant keeping race” and thus, the statue serves as a shrine to white supremacists like those we saw in Charlottesville. If the City of Decatur and DeKalb County truly value diversity, then both entities will listen to its citizens and fight vigorously for the removal of this monument.
Please sign below so our representatives can see all our signatures. Our community, our city, does not want this tribute to slavery and Jim Crow encroaching on our space. We recognize that this will not be an easy process. After seeing our signatures, we hope that our representatives will get to work on repealing and/or amending O.C.G.A 50-3-1 (b)(2) which prohibits the removal of such monuments. Once that process is complete, cities across the state of Georgia can determine for themselves whether these confederate memorials are appropriate for their public spaces. By signing this petition, you are saying there is no space for hate, racism, white supremacy, and bigotry in the City of Decatur.
** Please feel free to sign even if you do not live in Decatur or DeKalb County because this action requires a change in Georgia law so we want all representatives in the State House and Senate to hear our voices ***
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