Dear Decaturish – 5 reasons why Confederate monuments should be left aloneAfter the Stand With Charlottesville candlelight vigil on August 13. 2017, in Decatur, Ga., attendees gather to discuss the controversial "Lost Cause" monument in Decatur Square.
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1) The Decatur Confederate Monument is a part of the Historic DeKalb County Courthouse and is part of the National Registry. According to entry number 718.13.0036 on 08/26/1971 the monument is included in with the collection. The notes are as follows.
“On July 22, 1864, General Joseph Wheeler was ordered to capture Federal wagon trains parked just north of the square. After fierce fighting Wheeler’s Cavalry forced the Federal troops out of the area. A monument to the soldiers killed in this battle and others was erected in 1906 and still stands in the center of the main south walkway on the square. Several bronze plaques have also been placed on the grounds commemorating other Civil War events. “
2) The Decatur Confederate Monument was mostly paid for by DeKalb Counties School Children
According to the Atlanta Georgian and News (Atlanta, Ga.) 1907-1912, September 21, 1907, Page 5 it was reported that nearly every school in the county sent in a contribution. The article also reported that people of all kinds were at the unveiling.
3) A group now calling itself Hate Free Decatur began spreading the hate around the monument.
On and around August 15, 2017, feces was smeared on the monument in Decatur. On Aug. 16, on Facebook, someone made a threat to pull down the monument with straps and a pickup truck. This was reported to the Decatur Police Department and on September 02, 2017 the monument was yarn bombed. The group reported in the Decaturish newspaper that they were not responsible for said events but if something wasn’t done the civil disobedience will continue. The City of Decatur did not press charges with the feces event. It was simply washed off. All the while the group fed information to Decaturish newspaper announcing their petition and events surrounding the monument.
Decatur said the monument was the property of DeKalb County. The Facebook threat was document and written out. More than just a passing comment. The so called yarn bomb was also violation of state law not to mention defacing DeKalb County property. DeKalb County would not cave to a terrorist group defacing property, so why give this group an exception.
4) The newly formed City of Stone Crest has decided to copy the City of Decatur resolution going after a State Marker of Rebecca Latimer Felton and a Jefferson Davis Highway Marker.
The reason why this is an issue is first Rebecca Latimer Felton was the first woman serving in the United States Senate. Currently the mayor of Decatur is surrounded by men and one councilwoman serves in the City of Stonecrest. Felton represents women everywhere who may aspire to be in politics or even President. The Jefferson Davis Highway was to a man who is not only a constitutionalist but a soldier, statesman and leader. The idea of eradication history is a farce.
5) We must embrace history and not erase history.
DeKalb County is a very diverse part of the State of Georgia. Instead of tearing down monuments we need to be putting up more teaching our children about the past and the present. The history of DeKalb should be valued and protected above all else. Consider the Historic DeKalb Courthouse. If there was a symbol of Jim Crow Laws it would have begun there. Consider the Flat Rock Community of DeKalb that remembers the past slaves that made that community. The war touched DeKalb County like no other and there is plenty of room to preserve its history. Don’t make the mistake of trying to erase history and end up repeating it.
– Barry Colbaugh