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Decatur’s unwanted Confederate monument is gone

By Maggie Lee

Just as the calendar turned to Juneteenth, a jubilant audience watched and videoed the removal of a Confederate monument from Decatur’s town square.

A man in front of the obelisk, which is covered in signs.

The day of the removal, protesters were waiting on officials to act on a judge’s order to remove the obelisk. Credit: Kelly Jordan

Decatur and DeKalb’s governments and people have long since said they don’t want the 1908 monument to what white people then saw as a tragically “Lost Cause.” Protesters lately have made it the focal point of anger, criticism, shame, sorrow and sometimes vandalism. But state law seemed to protect it.

On Thursday, folks gathered fora demonstration. By evening, rumors were circulating that machinery would be on the way. Credit: Kelly Jordan

However, Decatur’s lawyers went to court June 10 on another argument: that the monument is a public nuisance — and that a catastrophe could happen if residents attempt to remove or destroy it.

A judge agreed, and down the monument came. It’s now in storage.

Elliott Inspace and Mawuli Davis with Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights removing protest signs for preservation at the DeKalb Historical Society. Credit: Kelly Jordan

On Friday, DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond said the county will create some 25 new “inclusive” historical markers.

Thurmond, author of books on African-American history in Athens and in Georgia, said that the county needs an inclusive narrative of its history. People might not always like what they read, he said, but it must be based on fact.

The 112-year-old monument taken down. Credit: Kelly Jordan

Thursday and Friday Decatur gallery by Kelly Jordan:


Maggie Lee

Maggie Lee is a freelance reporter who's been covering Georgia and metro Atlanta government and politics since 2008.


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