Confederate Statue In Georgia To Be Replaced With Memorial To Civil Rights Activist John Lewis
A Confederate monument called ‘The Lost Cause’ in Georgia will be replaced with a memorial to civil rights activist John Lewis.
In 1908, ‘The Lost Cause’ statue was erected in Georgia’s McDonough Square. The statue, which romanticised the South’s role in the American Civil War, was placed in the same year that the state agreed to place legislation that prevented Black citizens from voting. As a result, many feel that the statue has deep ties to racism.
The statue will now be replaced with a memorial to Congressman John Lewis. Lewis died last year, aged 80, and alongside being a civil rights activist, the congressman also represented his state for more than 30 years.
Lewis was closely linked with Martin Luther King during the civil rights movement and continued to promote equality in Congress in his subsequent political career. Before his death, he continued to be a strong figure and frequently disagreed with Donald Trump. For many, the memorial of the devoted civil servant will be a fitting reminder of the contemporary values of Georgia.
In June 2020, a judge ordered the removal of the Confederate statue writing:
In short, the Confederate obelisk has become an increasingly frequent target of grafﬁti and vandalism, a ﬁgurative lightning rod for friction among citizens, and a potential catastrophe that could happen at any time if individuals attempt to forcibly remove or destroy it.
Despite this ruling, removing the statue was a difficult task to set in motion. As Georgia state law claims that ‘no publicly owned monument honouring Confederate soldiers shall be relocated, removed or altered in any fashion’. However, the judge in this case clearly saw the statue as causing potential harm to the public.
The Hill reported Representatives of the Beacon Hill Black Alliance’s thoughts on the memorial plans:
This will be a reminder of how many young people have been a catalyst for change in the world. Where a monument once stood to intimidate and disenfranchise Black voters, soon will stand a statue of an American hero who gave his life to building the movement that ensures Black people have the right to vote.
It appears that the activist will continue to have a positive impact in Georgia even after his death. Moreover, many will hope that this will allow the state to put its racist past behind it, or at least no longer have it glorified.
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