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Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights holding ‘Decolonize Decatur Day’ event

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Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights holding ‘Decolonize Decatur Day’ event

The cannon from the Indian War of 1836 that Andre Williams is walking past is one of the monuments to hate and white supremacy currently located around the historic DeKalb County courthouse that were demanded to be removed during the Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights “Take It Down-No More Monuments to White Supremacy” rally on the Decatur Square June 17, 2020. Photo by Dean Hesse.

Decatur, GA — The Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights will join Decatur High School students, local clergy, historians and an indigenous speaker for a press conference in front of the infamous “Indian War Cannon” on March 20 at 6 p.m. to call for its removal from the Decatur Square.

The cannon was placed in Decatur in 1906 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy and memorializes the removal of indigenous peoples following the Creek Indian War of 1836. The war was a consequence of the Indian Removal Act of 1830, which President Andrew Jackson strongly supported, according to a report from the National Park Service.

The Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights is calling on Decatur’s leaders to “finish the job” it began last June when it removed a Confederate monument from the city square. The DeKalb County Commission on Jan. 26 approved a resolution to replace that monument with a statue of the late Congressman John Lewis.

At that time, Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights co-chair Fonta High said, “The passing of the resolution is an important move for the county to make; however, it is reflective of a double consciousness that exists within our nation’s leaders as they speak about unity and our county leaders that a statue of Lewis, a staunch supporter of American Indians, could be considered when just a few feet away from where the Lost Cause monument once stood is the cannon from the “Indian Wars” of 1836.”

Back in December, DHS students asked the Decatur City Commission to approve a resolution calling for the cannon’s removal. City commissioners passed it unanimously.

In a statement to the DeKalb County Commission on Feb. 9, the students said, “By allowing this cannon to stand in Decatur, DeKalb County is complicit in the perpetuation of white supremacy.”

That same day local clergy also presented a statement which said, “The cannon remains on the square as a symbol that glorifies, not only war, but also white Eurocentric Christian nationalism.”

John Winterhawk, a Muscogee elder, added in his statement, “Our teachings have been erased. They have been replaced by supremacy teachings and weapons of war for people to look at every day. Do we want to tell stories of war and being supreme and taking over people’s lands, destroying their way of life, and removing them to another place they don’t know?”

The press conference will occur on the same day that Joy Harjo, current U.S. Poet Laureate and writer of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation), will be doing an online poetry reading at 4 p.m. hosted by the Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library at Emory University. Attendees are asked to register here to receive a viewing link prior to the event, which is free and open to the public, the press release from Beacon HIll says.

In the morning, the Decolonize Decatur Committee of the Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights will be hosting a community conversation and webinar, “From Where I Stand: Stolen People & Stolen Land” from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m.

“The Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights hopes ‘Decolonize Decatur Day’ on March 20th will further the work of raising consciousness and organizing for equity in our local community,” the press release about the event says.

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