Letting freedom ring from Stone Mountain would show how far we’ve come

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.

Stone Mountain carving

Stone Mountain carving of leaders of the Confederacy (Wikipedia)

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.

Saba Long is a communications and political professional who lives in downtown Atlanta. She serves as the senior council aide and communications liaison for Post 2 At-Large Atlanta City Councilman Aaron Watson. Most recently, Saba was the press secretary for MAVEN and Untie Atlanta -- the Metro Chamber’s education and advocacy campaigns in supportive of the Atlanta Regional Transportation Referendum. She has consulted with H.E.G. an analytics and evaluation firm where she lent strategic marketing and social media expertise to numerous political campaigns, including that of Fulton County Chairman John Eaves and the 2010 Clayton County transportation referendum. In 2009, Saba served as the deputy campaign manager for the campaign of City Council President Ceasar Mitchell. Previously, Saba was a Junior Account Executive at iFusion Marketing, where she lent fractional marketing strategy to various ATDC technology startups operating out of the Georgia Tech incubator, ATDC. For the past two years, Saba has presented on online marketing and politics to the incoming fellows of the Atlanta chapter of the New Leaders Council.

1 reply
  1. Anachronism says:

    MLK featured at a Confederate Memorial?  As long as we are thinking in these terms, why don’t we thank all Anglo Saxons for founding & developing this great country but point out that they don’t fit in anymore and, in the interest of diversity, ask them to leave this country.Report

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