MLK Soon To Top Stone Mountain

Update: Thanks to those of you who pointed out my rookie mistake re: “the mountain top” reference in King’s speech. I guess it doesn’t really matter what speech of his they etch into that monument.

Over the summer, individuals and organizations protesting the removal of Confederate flags from public places gathered numerous times at Stone Mountain, Georgia in view of its relief monument to Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson and Jefferson Davis. Protesters may think twice about doing so in the future since it was announced that a monument to Martin Luther King, Jr. and a museum exhibit about the service of United States Colored Troops will be funded with visitor entrance and parking fees.

The rationale behind the addition seems to be the following:

But behind the racially charged argument was this point from critics that struck home: As a three-dimensional history lesson, Stone Mountain has pushed a one-sided view of America’s bloodiest conflict — one that hasn’t changed much since the 1960s and ignores its impact on nearly half of this state’s Civil War population. That is, the portion that was in chains.

King’s famous “I Have a Dream Speech” with its famous line, “I have been to the mountaintop” will be included on the monument. Officials with Stone Mountain have embraced adding to the commemorative landscape rather than removal and I think it is safe to say that this might be the perfect location for such a strategy.

Stone Mountain’s famous light show will soon entertain visitors with King looking down on three men who sacrificed so much to create slaveholding republic.

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13 comments… add one
  • Wallace Hettle Oct 13, 2015 @ 5:54

    “From Stone Mountain in Georgia, let freedom ring.” MLK, “I Have a Dream” speech, 1963

  • Mike Oct 12, 2015 @ 17:05


  • David Oct 12, 2015 @ 8:37

    I would certainly hope that since they’re going to do this, that they have some historians such as yourself involved. I can’t wait to see what they use for proof concerning the “Colored Troops” who fought for the south. I simply do not think it exists, but am willing to take a “wait and see” attitude to see what they come up with. It should be interesting!

    • Kevin Levin Oct 12, 2015 @ 8:45

      I’ve certainly helped a number of museums navigate this difficult subject, but I won’t hold my breadth for a call. 🙂

      • Mike Oct 12, 2015 @ 17:08

        This is not okay. Our history is what it is. If blacks want to express their history let them make their own monuments, not disgrace ours.

        • Kevin Levin Oct 13, 2015 @ 1:47

          Why do you assume this is a black v. white issue? I don’t consider MLK “black” history, I see it as American history.

  • BorderRuffian Oct 12, 2015 @ 7:11

    “…a museum exhibit about the service of United States Colored Troops will be funded with visitor entrance and parking fees.”

    “When describing that exhibit for African-American soldiers in the Civil War, Stephens repeatedly stressed the phrase ‘on both sides.'”

    • Kevin Levin Oct 12, 2015 @ 7:19

      He did indeed and we can only hope that those involved offer an accurate understanding of the roles played by free and enslaved blacks in the Confederate military.

  • Rosieo Oct 12, 2015 @ 1:12

    in the pic above… guy in middle looks like Lincoln…. just sayin’

    • Marian Latimer Oct 12, 2015 @ 21:14

      There are folks in NC trying to claim that Lincoln was actually born here. Go figure.

  • Chuck Taft Oct 11, 2015 @ 16:49

    Love your stuff, Kevin – but a quick note – MLK didn’t say “I have been to the mountaintop” in his “Dream” speech in 1963. His “Mountaintop” speech was delivered in 1968, the day before his assassination.

    • Kevin Levin Oct 11, 2015 @ 18:10

      You are absolutely right. I got a little carried away. Thanks for the correction.

  • Jim Oct 11, 2015 @ 15:53

    God does have a sense of humor.

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