Atlanta’s Confederate Advisory Committee Holds First Public Hearing

A statue depicting a Confederate soldier in Piedmont Park in Atlanta. It was vandalized in August.

David Goldman / Associated Press

The committee tasked with recommending what to do with the city’s streets and monuments tied to the Confederacy held a public hearing Wednesday night.

About 25 people showed up to share their opinions with Atlanta’s Confederate Advisory Committee. Most were in favor of removing the monuments and renaming the streets or adding some historical context.

Harold Alexander told the committee that celebrating people who fought for slavery shouldn’t even be a question for debate.

“Anyone who thinks it is, be they black or white, lack fundamental judgment and moral decency to serve in positions of governmental trust,” he said.

Alexander then held up a copy of his great-grandfather’s slave identification papers to further his point and show the history at the heart of the issue.

Adrian Coleman-Tyler, another Atlanta resident at the meeting, said she just learned Lee Street, which runs through southwest Atlanta, is named after Confederate General Stephen Lee.

“I think that you should take that back to the citizens and students who are on Lee Street because they probably don’t know the history,” she said.

Coleman-Tyler said the committee should also get more community input before making its final recommendations. She questioned the feasibility of the committee’s timeline.

“I think this issue is too important to rush through,” Coleman-Tyler said, citing the issue is very controversial and some deep wounds are associated with Confederate monuments and history.

Two more meetings are scheduled before the committee is scheduled to present its finding to Mayor Kasim Reed and the City Council.

It was appointed by Mayor Kasim Reed and the City Council after the deadly protests in Charlottesville this summer.