The inscription on Augusta’s Confederate Monument was taken from an English poet’s tribute to Robert E. Lee. The local NAACP chapter wants the monument either relocated or demolished. (TODD BENNETT / AUGUSTA CHRONICLE)

Rally tonight aims to pull down ‘white and fair’ Confederate monument

The NAACP and other civil rights activists will rally at the base of Augusta’s Confederate Monument at 6 p.m., imploring government officials to remove the marker whose inscription says, “No nation rose so pure and white. None fell so pure of crime.”

Though only the NAACP has received a required permit to demonstrate, Facebook and Twitter chatter suggests counter-demonstrators could turn out, too.

“Anyone want to join me opposing these idiots?” a local attorney asked on Facebook.

A Facebook group called “Defend the Confederate Monument in Augusta” has 29 members. On Twitter, the user Augusta Alt-Right posted on Wednesday, “Protestors Thursday want to tear down this monument in downtown Augusta. Our message to them is clear: You will not replace us.”

The monument has stood in the heart of downtown for nearly 140 years, across the street from the daily newspaper’s headquarters, a block away from the James Brown statue. In the wake of violence in Charlottesville, the local NAACP chapter is calling for it to be either relocated or demolished.

Georgia’s NAACP conference called on Gov. Nathan Deal and the state legislature to remove all confederate symbols from public property. Similar displays, erected during the reign of Jim Crow, have been removed, toppled or concealed in cities spanning from Maryland to Florida to Texas. In metro Atlanta, politicians and activists have called for removal of the Stone Mountain carving, an obelisk in Decatur, a flag in Kennesaw, and a statue in McDonough.

On Thursday, the distant nephews of the Confederacy’s vice president, Alexander Stephens, urged Deal to remove his statue from the U.S. Capitol.

Like other states, Georgia has a law barring removal of Civil War memorials, which would have to be repealed before the Augusta monumnent could be disturbed.

So far, Augusta’s majority-black city leadership has been reluctant to wade into the issue.

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