J.D.R. Hawkins

One bullet can make a man a hero… or a casualty.

Sometimes, Showing Honor is Disrespectful

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Yesterday, the Sons of Confederate Veterans sent out a statement in response to the placement of a Martin Luther King Jr. monument on Stone Mountain in Georgia. Stone Mountain is in a predominately black area of Atlanta. The MLK statue has been proposed by the Stone Mountain Memorial Association. However, this is in complete conflict with the original establishment of Stone Mountain, which was to honor the Confederacy. Although some think it would be okay to place a MLK monument on the mountain, it is completely disrespectful to the thousands who died defending their homeland during the Civil War.

“This decision by the Stone Mountain Memorial Association is wholly inappropriate in that it is an intentional act of disrespect toward the stated purpose of the Stone Mountain memorial from its inception as well as a possible violation of the law which established the Stone Mountain Memorial Association and charged it with promoting the mountain as a Confederate memorial.

“The Venable family, which owned Stone Mountain in the early 1900′s, leased the face of the mountain to the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1916 for the purpose of creating a carved memorial to the Confederacy.  The UDC contracted Gutzon Borglum, who later sculpted the Mount Rushmore carving; after the work was halted due to a disagreement with Borglum, the carving remained unfinished for several decades.  As the state began to discuss interest in reviving the memorial project as a state project, the Venable family deeded the land to the Stone Mountain Confederate Memorial, Inc. in 1956.  Two years later, in 1958, the state of Georgia purchased Stone Mountain; and the General Assembly created the Stone Mountain Memorial Association expressly to maintain the mountain and all adjacent property as a Confederate memorial and complete a portion of the original design for the carving.

“The act of the General Assembly which created the Stone Mountain Memorial Association specifically states the park, including both the mountain and all adjacent property, is to be maintained and operated as a Confederate memorial (OCGA 12-3-191).   The erection of monuments to anyone other than Confederate heroes in Stone Mountain Park is in contradistinction to the purpose for which the park exists and would make it a memorial to something different.  The park was never intended to be a memorial to multiple causes but solely to the Confederacy.  Therefore, monuments to either Michael King or soldiers of any color who fought against the Confederacy would be a violation of the purpose for which the park was created and exists. The opinions of the park’s current neighbors and opponents are of no bearing in the discussion.

“Furthermore, the erection of a monument to anything other than the Confederate Cause being placed on top of Stone Mountain because of the objections of opponents of Georgia’s Confederate heritage would be akin to the state flying a Confederate battle flag atop the King Center in Atlanta against the wishes of King supporters.  Both would be altogether inappropriate and disrespectful acts, repugnant to Christian people.”

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According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution, “the Sons of Confederate Veterans are right about Stone Mountain.” There are plenty of places where a MLK monument can be placed, but Stone Mountain shouldn’t be one of them.
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