A new exhibit that seeks to explain “the whole story” of the nation’s largest Confederate monument, including the history of the Ku Klux Klan there, is coming to Georgia’s Stone Mountain Park, the park’s board said Monday.
The exhibit will be developed together with “credible and well-established historians,” the board said in a news release, “to tell the warts and all history of the Stone Mountain carving,” including the 1915 rebirth of the Ku Klux Klan on the mountain “and the 50-years of Klan rallies which followed,” until the state bought the mountain and land around it in 1958.
The carving depicts three Confederate leaders of the Civil War on horseback: Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederacy during the Civil War, and Gens. Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. The figures are 90 feet by 190 feet on a carved oval background that is three acres — larger than a football field, according to the association.
The monument has long been a flashpoint of debate between those who see it as part of the South’s heritage and those for whom it represents White supremacy. It cannot be removed under Georgia law.
“I know folks have been waiting for some time to see changes at this beloved state park,” the Rev. Abraham Mosley, chair of Stone Mountain Memorial Association, said in the news release. “Additions and changes are coming, but we are on a journey, and we want to get this right.”
The resolutions passed by the board Monday are “intended to begin the process of balancing Stone Mountain Park’s historic mission as a Confederate Memorial with today’s broader realities of being Metro Atlanta’s largest green space and Georgia’s most visited tourism destination,” the news release said.
“It will be difficult to thread a needle and please everyone, but our Georgia today is a broad tapestry, and I would like to think we can weave us all together in some fashion,” said Mosley, the first Black person to chair the association, which the state formed in 1958.
Other planned changes include moving the park’s Confederate Flag Plaza, which includes a Confederate battle flag among others, from the bottom of the trail that leads to the top of the mountain to another area of the park that contains other “related monuments,” the association said.
The board also approved the formation of a seven-member advisory council, to be made up of “historians, state and local elected officials, tourism industry leaders and other stakeholders,” according to the release.
The plans include a new logo for the park and the association, which currently shows the carving against a blue hexagonal background.