Confederate flags will not come down at Stone Mountain

The array of Confederate flags flying at Stone Mountain, that most obvious of Georgia Confederate memorials, will continue to fly.

Bill Stephens, who heads the Stone Mountain Memorial Association, said a few days ago that the park's operators were weighing different options for the three Confederate States of America banners and the Rebel war emblem that fly alongside Old Glory.

He reports today that the park’s position has hardened since then.

Said Stephens:

"Stone Mountain is preserved by state law as a Confederate memorial.  The law that changed the flag to our current state flag also expressly prohibited changes at Stone Mountain Park. Some on both sides of these issues have said that these Confederate symbols belong in a museum.  Here in Georgia, Stone Mountain Park serves that purpose."

State law has a very clear mandate for Stone Mountain's state-owned memorial. "The Stone Mountain Memorial Association shall continue the practice of stocking, restocking, and sales of Confederate memorabilia." Another section says that the site should be "preserved and protected for all time as a tribute to the bravery and heroism of the citizens of this state who suffered and died in their cause."

The shooting deaths of nine black worshippers by a suspected white supremacist in Charleston has shone a spotlight on symbols of the Confederacy in Georgia and across the South. State Rep. LaDawn Jones, D-Atlanta, called on residents “who do not tolerate hate of any kind” to boycott the park until the flags come down.

“We can never change the fact that Stone Mountain was where the KKK was reformed in 1915 and grew from dormancy to millions of members,” she said. “However, we can stop giving credence to this type of hate by removing the flags that fly at the bottom.”