State rep: Skip Stone Mountain on July 4 - and until Confederate flags come down
One hiccup: memorial is protected by state law
- Stone Mountain
- Go somewhere else for fireworks on July 4, state lawmaker says
Stone Mountain Park tends to draw a crowd for Independence Day festivities. But state Rep. LaDawn Jones, D-Atlanta, is urging citizens to skip the attraction’s laser-light show and find another place to view fireworks.
Jones wants people to avoid the mountain, which features three Confederate figures prominently carved into its north face, until the Confederate flags at the bottom of the rock stop flying.
She says the recent killings of nine men and women in a historic black church in Charleston, S.C., "immediately reignited my disdain for the Confederate Flag and all places that it flies over."
Jones says people like Dylann Storm Roof, the accused Charleston shooter, are "empowered" in places that display such a "hateful message." She says The Stone Mountain Memorial Association, the state authority that oversees the park, has yet to respond to her requests to remove the flags. But she thinks the association should be well aware of the stigma surrounding the flag.
“Unless they’re living under a rock, they know what’s going on in the country," she says.
Jones says her opinion doesn't just stem to the recent flag debate: "There is no mistaking the horrible history that comes with that park where the [http://www.georgiaencyclopedia.org/articles/geography-environment/stone-mountain|Ku Klux Klan] was reformed in 1915] and grew from dormancy to millions of members.”
“Due to the large carving… Stone Mountain will always be a memorial to the Confederate soldiers and the Civil War," Jones says. "However, we can stop giving credence to this type of hate by removing the flags that fly at the bottom of the mountain."
However, SMMA CEO Bill Stephens tells Creative Loafing that Stone Mountain is protected by state law as a Confederate memorial.
“The law that changed the flag to our current state flag also expressly prohibited changes at Stone Mountain Park,” he says. “Some on both sides of these issues have said that these Confederate symbols belong in a museum. Here in Georgia, Stone Mountain Park serves that purpose.”