The Piedmont Park statue spray-painted by protesters Sunday was dedicated in 1911 as a statue to promote peace between north and south after the Civil War.
The Peace Monument was erected by the Old Guard of the Gate City Guard in 1911, according to research by the AJC for an article about the history of the park.
The sculpture by Allen G. Newman, who was born in New York, depicts an angel staying the hand of a Confederate soldier as he holds a rifle. In her other hand, the angel holds an olive branch.
Is the sculpture a Confederate monument? In part, yes, according to a description from a web site for the Old Guard of the Gate City Guard.
“Newspaper accounts of the day confirm that the Peace Monument represented different things to different people: Patriotism, reconciliation, the pledge of friendship and good will, and optimism about America’s unfinished history were all sponsors,” the web site said. “There is much historical evidence to suggest that it also represented a tribute to a proud people, who, even though defeated, still remained unconquered.”
John Green, a member of the Old Guard, told the AJC's Gracie Bonds Staples the statue was part of a broader campaign by Atlanta to promote national unity decades after the war ended.
Members of the group traveled to several northern cities on a peace mission.
“They were received very graciously by the Northern people,” Green said.
To commemorate their reconciliation efforts, Staples reported, the Old Guard decided to erect a peace monument in Piedmont Park, and on Oct. 11, 1911, more than 50,000 people, including governors and mayors, from many Northern and Southern States across the country gathered to dedicate the memorial.
The statue is located at the 14th Street entrance to Piedmont Park.