DeKalb delegation wants to remove Stone Mountain’s designation as Confederate memorial

DeKalb County’s all-Democratic legislation is frustrated by the apparent inaction of the Stone Mountain Memorial Association, which oversees the park.

John Bazemore / Associated Press file

Members of DeKalb County’s all-Democratic legislative delegation are seeking to remove Stone Mountain’s designation as a Confederate memorial.

“State Representatives Billy Mitchell (D-Stone Mountain), Mary Margaret Oliver (D-Decatur) and Omari Crawford (D-Decatur) have introduced House Bill 794, a bill which would remove the official designation of Stone Mountain Park in its entirety as a Confederate Memorial and removes the word ‘Memorial’ from the park’s official title,” a press release from the legislators said. “HB 794 is co-sponsored by every member of the DeKalb delegation.”

The delegation said it is frustrated by the inaction of the Stone Mountain Memorial Association, which oversees the park. SMMA is supposed to be working to contextualize the giant Confederate carving at the park, but as the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported, the rollout of those changes has been slow.

“We have been waiting too long for action by the Stone Mountain Memorial [Association] to act on needed changes to the false history of the park and the carving,” said Mitchell in the press release. “We do not understand the delay and wish to set forth the changes that we see as necessary.”

Mitchell’s district includes Stone Mountain Park.

“I am a native of Georgia and DeKalb County, and Stone Mountain has been a part of all the stages of my life,” Oliver said in the press release. “The park is an important asset for our county and state and enjoys enormous popularity and use. As such, the park needs to change its statutory history of honoring the Confederacy and adherence to a ‘lost cause.’ This legislation is consistent with recommendations from other groups and historians who wish to set forth a more accurate history of the Stone Mountain Park and its carving.”

The legislation would rename the governing board from the Stone Mountain Memorial Association to the Stone Mountain Park Association. It would also remove the requirement for the association to stock and sell Confederate memorabilia, as well as the requirement to preserve the carvings of Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson on Stone Mountain.

“I’m a proud product of DeKalb County, and Stone Mountain was integral to my development,” Crawford said in the press release. “The diversity of DeKalb County is an under-amplified gem in the great state of Georgia. Our ability to work together, despite of our diversity, is what makes DeKalb County unique. Honoring any Confederate history in an area with so much diversity is inconsistent with DeKalb County’s present-day values. It is time that our park reflects our evolution.”

Co-sponsors of the legislation are: Dar’shun Kendrick (D-Lithonia), Karla Drenner (D-Avondale Estates), Karen Lupton (D-Chamblee), Viola Davis (D-Stone Mountain), Becky Evans (D-Atlanta), Karen Bennett (D-Stone Mountain), Scott Holcomb (D-Atlanta), Imani Barnes (D-Tucker), Doreen Carter (D-Lithonia), Saira Draper (D-Atlanta), Shea Roberts (D-Atlanta), Long Tran (D-Dunwoody) and Rhonda Taylor (D-Conyers).

The measure was introduced on Monday. The legislative session ends March 29, so it has little chance of passing this year. But bills introduced this year will return for consideration in the 2024 session.