A Plan to Honor Martin Luther King at a Southern Civil War Symbol

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tags: Martin Luther King, Confederate flag, Confederate memorial, Civil War Symbol, Stone Mountain



The idea is suffused with a simple poetry: A bell would be placed atop Stone Mountain, the massive granite outcropping east of Atlanta invoked by the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in his “I Have a Dream” speech — one of the places from which, as Dr. King imagined it, a nation no longer divided by racism might “Let freedom ring.”

But this “Freedom Bell” proposal, unveiled this month by a state government authority as a tribute to the civil rights leader, has become mired in complications and controversy, the latest skirmish over Southern symbols prompted by the racially motivated massacre of nine black churchgoers this summer in Charleston, S.C.

Opposition came quickly, and perhaps expectedly, from the Georgia division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, who said that the mountain, which is adorned with a huge carving depicting Confederate heroes, is classified as a Confederate memorial by state statute. “The erection of monuments to anyone other than Confederate heroes in Stone Mountain Park,” the group said in a written statement, “is in contradistinction to the purpose for which the park exists and would make it a memorial to something different.”




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