By Saba Long
“The South’s got something to say,” proclaimed Andre 3000, of the DeKalb rap duo OutKast, after winning best new artist of the year at the 1995 Source awards.
While OutKast won’t be emblazoned on Stone Mountain’s granite relief, another Southern wordsmith will see his words come to life –Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
King’s “dream to let freedom ring from the Stone Mountain of Georgia” may very well happen – thanks to the park’s association and partners who plan to erect a bell tower on the mount.
Park officials couldn’t have come up with a more fitting symbol of equality.
Walk around the park or up the mountain on any given day and you’ll find college athletes, retirees and mothers all up for the physical challenges the outdoors provide. Asians, Hispanics, blacks and whites all enjoy the park and co-exist with ease.
People of all walks of life coexist in society – at work, at school, in the gym.
What makes a park different?
Fifty-two years after King’s dream to let freedom ring, the Georgia chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans has shown us all how fiercely the group intends to cling to its relevancy, blinded by the tides of time and fear.
Maybe it’s fear of a South where the governor of South Carolina – Nikki Haley – born to Indian Sikh parents – recognized the power of addressing hate head on. Or maybe it’s fear of a new America where the once clear lines of ethnicity have blurred to “other.”
This out of touch group has called the freedom bell monument “repugnant to Christian people.”
However, King’s message, that of hope and love, mirrored Christ’s.
Perhaps the group should be given some slack. After all, some think the monument is to “Michael King,” a never-before mentioned civil rights leader.
Surely, the Sons of Confederate Veterans, so learned in the history of the Deep South, have heard the teachings of the Civil Rights’ top general, the son of a preacher and a Bible-quoting rabble-rouser.
Or, they have chosen to call King by his birth name as a careless snub and deliberate point to ignore the renaming of King in honor of the German theologian Martin Luther.
A “stone of hope” exists right here in Georgia and the freedom bell, a sound of love, should ring atop the mountain.
The South indeed has something to say and today, it should be filled with love and freedom for all.