Robert E. Lee. Stonewall Jackson. Big Boi.
It might seem a bit out of place, but there is a petition circling to change the face of Stone Mountain, a massive Georgia monument to confederate Generals Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson and Jefferson Davis. The monument is a carving, a massive bas relief right in the rock face, depicting all three men on horseback at a staggering 120m in height and covering three acres of stone. It’s the biggest bas relief in the world. And people want to add Atlanta hip hop group Outkast to the image.
The controversy over Stone Mountain extends beyond honoring Southern Generals, it’s not as simple as that or wanting to pretend the Confederacy never happened. The particular issue with this monument at this location is that it was practically done as a gift for the Ku Klux Klan. The Klan was reformed on the spot where the monument sits back in 1915 and they were given the right to hold gatherings there. So it’s kind of a shamefully cursed corner of the world, even if it is a tourist attraction.
The petition on MoveOn.org has nearly 8,000 signatures although, to be fair, it could have a million signatures and it’s likely no one would care as, like any online petition, it has no weight, power or authority at all. But they do make for fun stories sometimes.
Big Boi himself is on board with the idea, and why wouldn’t he be? It’s not every day fans propose you become immortalized as a state hero on a massive stone wall. On the other end of the spectrum, the NAACP has asked for the entire monument to be destroyed, saying “It is time for Georgia and other Southern states to end the glorification of slavery and white supremacy paid for and maintained with the taxes of all its citizens.”
The issue is a controversial one as many feel removing images of the Confederate flag is acceptable, but removing images of the people who fought in the war, and who were honored as American veterans, is disrespectful and an attempt to ignore history. It’s certainly an argument that both sides feel passionately about, but one thing is certain, adding some extra figures who are notable and important to Georgia’s history could certainly go a long way to expanding the meaning and significance of Stone Mountain. And that doesn’t necessarily mean just Outkast, Georgia was also home to;
- Jimmy Carter
- Ray Charles
- Martin Luther King Jr
- Doc Holliday
- Hulk Hogan
- Jackie Robinson
- Gladys Knight
You can get a lot of mileage out of famous people form Georgia, why not make an entire mural? Just a thought.