The group’s proposals include removing the Confederate flags that have long flown at the base of the mountain; changing names of streets and other park features with Confederate affiliations; and launching a larger branding effort that would focus the park on themes like nature, racial reconciliation and justice.
The coalition also suggested halting maintenance on the mountain’s massive carving of Confederate leaders Jefferson Davis, Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee, which it views as a potential short-term solution while working to change state laws that protect the monument.
Ryan Gravel, left, of the Stone Mountain Action Coalition, addresses the Stone Mountain Memorial Association board during a special called meeting on Monday, Sept. 14, 2020. TYLER ESTEP / TYLER.ESTEP@AJC.COM
Credit: Tyler Estep
Credit: Tyler Estep
“We don’t believe that taking a piecemeal, token kind of approach to adding little trinkets here and there is going to be good enough to really resolve the history of the mountain and the way that people see it,” said Ryan Gravel, a coalition co-chair.
Several other coalition members also spoke during Monday’s presentation. They said that they weren’t making demands but asking to partner with the memorial association to create a more welcoming park.
Co-chair Meymoona Freeman produced an American flag that she suggested could replace one of the Confederate banners that fly at the mountain’s base.
“It’s time for transformation, it’s time for healing and it’s time for progress,” she said.
Smith, the memorial association chairman, has previously said that additions that would help balance the historical picture at the park are being discussed, but has provided few details. He said Monday that the memorial association board meeting originally planned for next week — a gathering where those potential additions were set to be discussed in public — is likely to be pushed back.
“We’re going to meet with the governor and see what he wants to do” before presenting a plan, Smith said.