Kennesaw’s elected leaders want state lawmakers to give them the power to decide what to do with the Confederate flag that has long flown over the city’s downtown.
The flag, which was cut down at least two times last week, is located in the heart of downtown at the corner of Main and Cherokee streets. A recent petition has garnered thousands of signatures to take down the flag following national efforts to remove Confederate items from public spaces following a rally by white nationalists that turned deadly in Charlottesville, Virginia.
But Kennesaw’s Confederate flag is protected by a state law that restricts the movement or removal of veteran memorials.
The statute, which originated from a 2001 compromise that removed a segregation-era state flag, says no publicly owned monument on public property can be moved or altered in any way. The Confederate flag in Kennesaw is part of a war memorial honoring veterans of various wars, city officials have said.
Monday night, council members voted 4 to 1 to ask state leaders to “allow local municipalities the ability to determine, in their sole discretion and within their jurisdictional limits,” the best way to honor the service of military personnel.
“... The removal of the Confederate flag from the public flag pole in downtown Kennesaw would serve as a message to all that our community strives for equality and unity, rather than disparity and division,” the petition reads.
The 19-year-old, who said he and as many as 50 protesters marched to Monday’s meeting, didn’t realize that Kennesaw’s hands were tied by the state law.
Ben Brasch is the reporter tasked with keeping Fulton County government accountable. The Florida native moved to Atlanta for a job with The AJC. If there's something important to you going on in Fulton, he wants to know about it. Help him better metro Atlanta by dropping a line, anonymously or otherwise.