The DeKalb County Commission voted Tuesday to attempt to move a 109-year-old monument honoring the Confederacy.
If successful, the county could be one of the first communities in Georgia to expel a Confederate monument.
The resolution, approved on an 6-1 vote, orders the county’s attorneys to find a legal way to remove or relocate the 30-foot obelisk located outside the former county courthouse in Decatur.
State law prohibits such monuments from being “relocated, removed, concealed, obscured, or altered in any fashion,” but governments are allowed to take action to preserve or protect monuments. The resolution notes that the monument has been recently vandalized twice.
The county government will try to determine if it actually owns the monument, then explore how it can be moved.
The monument glorifies the Confederacy and says its soldiers “were of a covenant keeping race,” according to the resolution.
Several residents from the group Hate Free Decatur praised the board’s vote, saying the monument symbolizes oppression of black Americans and has no place in the middle of town. They want it moved to a museum or cemetery.
One resident, retired high school history teacher Chris Billingsley, opposed the resolution because he said the monument honors soldiers’ sacrifices during the Civil War.
DeKalb Commissioner Nancy Jester cast the only vote against the resolution. She said monuments should be put in their historical context instead of being moved.
Exclusive to subscribers: Read the full story about how Decatur’s Confederate monument might be removed on myAJC.com.
MYAJC.COM: REAL JOURNALISM. REAL LOCAL IMPACT.
Never miss a minute of what's happening in DeKalb politics. Subscribe to myAJC.com.