Better late than never?
According to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the state organization that runs Georgia's Stone Mountain State Park, best known for its large Confederate Memorial carving, will erect a monument to civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. They also say a memorial to black Civil War soldiers is in the works.
Officials pointed to a line in King's famed 1962 "I Have a Dream" speech as their inspiration, when King said, "But not only there; let freedom ring from the Stone Mountain of Georgia."
King had good reason to cite Stone Mountain in his speech, as it is closely linked to the history of white supremacy in the South. The cliff face of the mountain itself is home to a gigantic carving of three Civil War Confederate leaders, Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson and Jefferson Davis. Stone Mountain was also the place where the Ku Klux Klan had its rebirth in 1915. The hate group held meetings there until the 1960s, and it continues to serve as a rallying point for a particular brand of "Southern heritage" to this day.
The monument has always been controversial, and calls for its removal or alteration picked up this summer following the release of Charleston gunman Dylann Roof's racist manifesto. Stone Mountain Memorial Association CEO Bill Stephens seemed to indicate to the AJC that the King monument was in lieu of any changes to the Confederate Memorial.
“We’re into additions," Stephens told the Journal-Constitution, "and not subtractions.”