Protesters gather before Decatur’s 110-year-old Confederate monument during a September 2017 march. AJC file photo. Bill Banks for the AJC
Photo: For the AJC
Photo: For the AJC

Activists oppose new proposal to keep Confederate monument in Decatur Square

DeKalb commissioners plan to discuss whether the best option for a controversial Confederate monument is to move it to a new spot on Decatur Square.

That would keep it in the center of town near the old and new courthouses and MARTA station, but with room to add context about its origins and impact.

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The commissioners say outside groups must detail where the monument will go, public access and specific communication strategy.

Commissioner Jeff Rader, the presiding officer, said keeping the monument on the square was put on the table because there has been so much difficulty finding it a new home somewhere else.

“We haven’t been able to really identify anybody that wants it in their neighborhood,” he said.

A coalition of activist groups doesn’t like this idea and has planned a protest rally for Saturday. They say the best option is to find county land somewhere else and move the 30-foot obelisk to a place that isn’t so prominent.

“So much of the issue with this monument is its location on the courthouse square,” said Sara Patenaude, co-founder of Hate Free Decatur that is sponsoring the event.

The #OfftheSquare rally is scheduled for 3 p.m. on Decatur Square. The coalition also includes the Beacon Hill and DeKalb chapters of the NAACP and Sankofa Church.

A subcommittee of the DeKalb Board of Commissioner will discuss the monument’s on Tuesday afternoon. Commissioner Mereda Davis Johnson has proposed creating a task force to continue researching options and costs for its relocation, which the activist coalition supports.

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