2 Confederate statues were removed in Georgia within 3 days
Two Confederate statues were removed from public locations in the state of Georgia this week.
This comes as cities across the nation have grappled with how to handle statues of historical figures with troubling pasts, including Confederate generals, slave owners and colonizers.
As calls for social justice rang out throughout the country following the death of George Floyd at the hands of former Minneapolis Police officers, many monuments were vandalized, spray painted or even torn down by the public.
Monument put in storage
One such vandalism was the catalyst for the removal of the Confederate monument that stood outside the Gwinnett County Courthouse in Lawrenceville.
The stone monument, inscribed with “1861-1865 Lest We Forget” and installed in 1993, was removed and put into storage Thursday, according to CNN affiliate WXIA.
Lawrenceville, about 30 miles northeast of Atlanta, is the county seat of Gwinnett County.
The Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners voted in January to have the monument moved into storage until court proceedings were finished determining its fate, a press release from the board said last month.
According to the release, the 28-year-old monument was vandalized during protests in June 2020, prompting a lawsuit filed by Gwinnett County Solicitor-General Brian Whiteside that sought to have the monument declared a public nuisance and have it removed.
It was vandalized again on Thanksgiving, which led to the board making the decision to put it in “an appropriate storage facility for protection and preservation until the court provides further direction or the lawsuit is resolved,” the release said.
“A monument celebrating the Confederacy on county property is inconsistent with the message of welcome and inclusion that the County is sending to the world. We should place it in storage to avoid further provocation and to help the cause of tranquility for the benefit of all,” Chairwoman Nicole Hendrickson said in the press release.
Commissioner Kirkland Carden said in the release that it was “time to remove this monument of hate that has been a stain on Gwinnett County since it was erected in 1993,” adding that “removing this monument is a step in the right direction.”
Statue moved to historic house
A statue of Confederate General Joseph E. Johnston was relocated from downtown Dalton to the historic Huff House Saturday by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, who own the statue, city of Dalton spokesman Bruce Frazier told CNN.
Dalton sits just 16 miles south of the Tennessee border in the northwest corner of Georgia.
“The statue of General Johnston is the property of the United Daughters of the Confederacy which commissioned it and placed it downtown in 1912,” Dalton told CNN.
The historic Huff House was the headquarters of General Johnston “during the Confederate Army of Tennessee’s winter encampment in Dalton for about six months from December 1863 to May 1864,” Robert D. Jenkins, Sr., attorney for the United Daughters of the Confederacy, said in a statement to CNN.
“It is a logical place for the statue where the history of the man, the statue and the house may all be interpreted and visited,” Jenkins explained.
Jenkins said that the removal process didn’t require any votes or come after any attempts to destroy the statue.
“No one involved in this process has intimated or attempted to tear down or destroy the statue or the history of it,” he said, adding that the United Daughters of the Confederacy “simply wanted it moved from a public property and were willing to pay for its relocation.”
“In many communities across our country, unfortunately, similar circumstances have led to violence,” said Jenkins. “In Dalton, however, the various parties have worked together to find and to carry out a good solution. We hope that the new location of the statue will lead to greater interest to and support of the Huff House,” Jenkins said.
Frazier confirmed to CNN that the measure was never voted on by a mayor or council and “the issue never appeared on any city agenda.”
Confederate monument to be replaced with John Lewis statue
These are not the first Confederate monuments in the state of Georgia to be removed.
In June last year, the city of Decatur, east of Atlanta, removed a 30-foot Confederate obelisk from the Decatur Square after a DeKalb County judge ordered it to be relocated.
The city had argued the statue had become a threat to public safety during recent protests and wanted it to be put in storage until they could find another place to put it.
Officials now plan to erect a monument that honors the late John Lewis, the Georgia Congressman who spent his entire life fighting for civil rights.