Confederate monument’s removal from Decatur under review

Protesters are seeking to remove a Confederate monument from downtown Decatur.

The DeKalb Board of Commissioners is exploring ways to remove a 30-foot tall Confederate monument from downtown Decatur.

DeKalb Commissioner Mereda Davis Johnson introduced a resolution Tuesday that condemns the monument for glorifying the Confederacy and questions whether the monument is even owned by the county.

State law restricts removal of publicly owned Confederate monuments, but DeKalb officials haven't been able to find any records showing that the county government ever accepted the donation of the Decatur monument, according to the resolution.

Protesters have been seeking to move the monument, an obelisk erected in 1908 outside what is now the former county courthouse.

The resolution says the monument has been vandalized at least twice, and it could become "a flash point for violence" like the deadly white supremacist rally in Augusta in Charlottesville, Va.

The monument contains an inscription praising soldiers of the Confederacy in part because they “were of a covenant keeping race.” It was built at the direction of the A. Evans Camp of Confederate Veterans and Agnes Lee Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, according to the resolution.

If the resolution is approved, the county would seek to have a title attorney determine ownership of the land where the monument sits. Then government attorneys would determine legal options for removing or relocating the monument.

The resolution will be considered by the DeKalb Planning, Economic Development and Community Services Committee on Tuesday, and it could come to a vote of the DeKalb Commission on Oct. 24.

The obelisk in Decatur Square has recently become the subject of a petition to see it removed and one to ensure it remains. Bill Banks for the AJC

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