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Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights to hold teach-in at Indian War cannon in Decatur

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Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights to hold teach-in at Indian War cannon in Decatur

Student organizers from left to right, Bethani Thomas, Genesis Reddicks, Koan Roy-Meighoo and Julian Fortuna hold a sign highlighting the late Congressman John Lewis’ support of Native rights as they stand next to the ‘Indian War’ cannon after a March 20 Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights ‘Decolonize Decatur Day’ press conference calling for DeKalb County to remove the cannon from the Decatur Square. Photo by Dean Hesse.

This story has been updated.

Decatur, GA — Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Humans Rights is hosting a teach-in on Sunday, Aug. 22, at 4 p.m. on the Decatur Square. The event will provide an opportunity for the community to hear from local teachers and historians about the story of the 1836 Indian War cannon that was placed in downtown Decatur by the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1906, according to a press release.

The event was organized by Beacon Hill’s Decolonize Decatur Committee and is part of a continuing effort and commitment by the organization to see this symbol of white supremacy and genocide removed from a public square. Decatur High School students have been working on curriculum reform to make it more inclusive and just. The content of this teach-in is an example of history that has not been traditionally taught, the press release states.

“We hope this teach-in will raise consciousness about the Indigenous – African connection on this land we live on,” said Paul McLennan co-chair of the Beacon Hill Decolonize Decatur Committee, in the press release. “We expect the county to finish the job they started last summer and remove this symbol of hatred and white supremacy from the Square.”

The program will include a local historian and teachers from City Schools of Decatur, Atlanta Public Schools and Woodward Academy who will give short presentations. Topics of the presentations will include why the objects were placed, who the Muscogee Nation is and how they were removed from the area, who the United Daughters of the Confederacy are, the conditions in the area in 1906 when the cannon was placed, and why this history is relevant to students today, among other topics.

In December 2020, Decatur High School students presented a resolution to the City Commission in favor of removing the cannon. The resolution passed unanimously and in February, public comment was given to the DeKalb County Board of Commissioners.

 At the time, Muscogee elder John Winterhawk said in a statement that “[o]ur 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?”

Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated the day the event will be held. This story has been updated with the correct information.

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