Warren Crawley II (left) & JP Coirin, from Fast Signs of Tucker, pour cement for the foundation of a contextual marker on site of the Confederate monument in downtown Decatur, which is owned by DeKalb County. (Photo by Phil Skinner)
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Decatur group says marker at Confederate monument won’t solve deeper issues

Even though a marker adding historical context to the Confederate Monument in Decatur has been installed, one local group believes that more work is needed to acknowledge racism and white supremacy in other places.

Hate Free Decatur is hosting a walking tour next week that begins at the monument and ends at a recreation center in what was once the city’s African-American neighborhood. After the tour, there will be a panel discussion “about the continued systems of white supremacy in our society and ways we can work together to bring needed change to Decatur,” the organization says.

The walking tour and panel discussion will be held Monday, Oct. 14, at 6 p.m. Beginning at the monument outside the historic Courthouse in downtown Decatur, it will continue with a guided tour of the Ebster Recreation Center. This rec center is dedicated in part to preserving the history of Decatur’s Beacon Hill neighborhood, an African-American community that was dismantled in the name urban renewal.

The contextualization marker was authorized by county commissioners after efforts to relocate the obelisk were unsuccessful and installed last month. Hate Free Decatur was among the groups that led the call for the monument’s removal from such a prominent place in the city.

In a statement after the contextualizing marker was installed, the organization said it was a positive development but criticized county leaders for not working harder to remove the monument before state laws were changed to make that nearly impossible. Additional work is still needed in DeKalb County to address the lingering effects of racism and white supremacy, Hate Free Decatur said in a statement.

“Conversation is a vehicle, not the destination,” the statement said. “Other communities found the political will to remove these monuments; if we want the same in our community, we must work to elect political leaders with vision and the will to accomplish the wide-scale change we need. We look forward to the day when the monument is gone, and only the marker remains.”

If you go:

Hate Free Decatur’s Walking Tour and Panel Discussion on Monday, October 14, at 6 p.m. The starting point is the Confederate monument in Decatur Square.

Read more | Marker supplies historical context for DeKalb’s Confederate monument

Also | Chamber leader says Decatur street name erased vital links to past, community

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