Confederate Monument in Georgia to be Removed

Earlier today county Commissioner Jeff Rader told a local news station that  DeKalb County has decided to remove the Confederate monument located in front of the Dekalb County Courthouse in Decatur, Georgia. The monument was dedicated on April 25, 1908, just two years after the Atlanta race riots, which left dozens of African Americans dead.

The principle speaker during the dedication of the monument was Hooper Alexander:

Altho my life, politically and personally, has been in constant strife with the leaders of our Southern people, yet, as I grow older, I have learned, not only to respect and esteem,, but to love the great qualities which being to my fellow citizens of the Southern states. They are a noble race. We may well take pattern from them in some of the great virtues which make up the strength as they make up the glory of free states. Their love of home; their delicate sense of honor; their constancy which can abide by an opinion or a purpose of interest of their states, through adversity and through prosperity, through the years and thru generations, are things which the North may take a lesson. But this April Day, after 43 years have been busy at the task of gathering home the sons and daughters who have so loved her well we sat here on this hill today a shaft of granite rock dug from the old red soil of Georgia and in the face of it with chisels it is graven that Another generation bears witness To the Future that these men were of a covenant keeping race, who held fast the faith as it was given by the fathers of the republic.

Just another indication that this debate is far from over.

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17 comments… add one
  • Billy Bearden May 11, 2018 @ 6:03

    The Decatur monument is safe from removal. Jeff Rader can claim whatever, it just doesn’t translate to reality. The law remains unchanged.

    • Phil R May 11, 2018 @ 7:43

      As I recall, the Memphis monuments are protected by law, too.

  • Connie Chastain May 8, 2018 @ 5:11

    Quote: “Confederate monuments helped to unite white southerners around the goal of maintaining that hierarchy during a very turbulent time.”

    What a crock. What utter, made-up hooey. Just gotta drum up hatred for Southerners, don’t you?

    • Kevin Levin May 8, 2018 @ 5:18

      Hi Connie. Of course it will sound crazy, especially if you have never bothered to read a Confederate monument dedication address and/or newspaper coverage of many of these events.

    • Rob Baker May 9, 2018 @ 5:45

      I’d like to add something to this – as I said above I researched Hooper Alexander a little when the “Old Joe” debate sprung up around Gainesville, GA. Here is a letter I found in which H. Alexander wrote to Harper’s Weekly in March 1904, a couple of years before the unveiling of the monument mentioned above. You can find the whole article below but I’m going to share a small snippet.

      The Negro and the Fourteenth Amendment

      The theory is manifestly untrue. Yet, upon it, as a justification, a large part of local autonomy is withdrawn from the people among whom the negro lives, and they are compelled, with an imperious insistence that does not even permit remonstrance, to adjust their institutions to bold contradictions and shape laws that shall consist with the impossible.

      Now the negro is a low type of mankind, proven by his entire history to be incapable of growing in industry, intelligence, or virtue by any inherent capacity of his own. So far as I am advised no group of this race ever rose above pure animalism except those who were subjected to the training and restraints of that system of feudalism commonly called “slavery” in America. These were controlled rigidly but kindly, and developed considerable industrial capacity, some slight morality, a crude but correct religion, moderate intelligence, remarkable docility, and a higher degree of personal fidelity to their masters than history records in any other case. The significant phenomenon in regard to the acquirement of these virtues lies in the fact that they were in their origin entirely extrinsic to the negroes themselves. Their fidelity to their masters, marvelously demonstrated during the civil war, was of the same general type that is manifested in domestic animals, higher, of course, in degree, but similar in character; similar also to the affection of children for their parents and teachers. In both the latter cases I believe it is commonly observed that the more rigid and exact the control, the higher is the measure of affection and cheerfulness in obedience.
      Hooper, Alexander, “The Negro and the Fourteenth Amendment,” Harper’sWeekly. XLVIII (March, 1904), 438.

      Given what we know now about Alexander, what can we infer about the word ‘race’ on the monument’s inscription? I don’t expect this to change Connie’s mind though, it’s predetermined.

      • Kevin Levin May 9, 2018 @ 6:42

        Thanks for adding this to the discussion.

      • Mike Furlan May 11, 2018 @ 7:39

        For a modern version, see “Dancing Bears”, “True Stories of People Nostalgic for Life under Tyranny”, Witold Szablowski.

        The Bear “owners” claimed that although they drove red hot iron rings through the noses of their bears, beat them, bashed out their teeth, and tormented them daily to get them to “dance” that they loved them like their own children. Which is the set up for a discussion of life in a totalitarian system.

  • andersonh1 May 7, 2018 @ 10:55

    “The monument was dedicated on April 25, 1908, just two years after the Atlanta race riots, which left dozens of African Americans dead.”

    What is the link between these two events?

    • Kevin Levin May 7, 2018 @ 11:59

      The goal of the Confederacy was the protection of slavery and white supremacy. The Atlanta Riots threatened the racist status quo that white southerners reinforced in the post-Reconstruction period. Confederate monuments helped to unite white southerners around the goal of maintaining that hierarchy during a very turbulent time.

      Hope that helps.

    • Billy Bearden May 11, 2018 @ 5:59

      There is no “link between the two” (riot and Monument)
      In volume 2, edition 3 of “The Granite News” out of Boston, we see in March 1898 a report that DeKalb County Georgia wants a Confederate memorial. A full decade prior to it’s unveiling in April 1908.
      Over 1,000 DeKalb and Decatur school children helped donate monies towards it’s completion. The monument would represent to those children the missing fathers and grandfathers and uncles and cousins lost and never heard from again.

      It is shameful to see some claim it was put there somehow related to a riot, or other rot.

  • John delano May 6, 2018 @ 11:33

    It is so frustrating to see our historical monuments being removed because they offend a certain group of people. Slaverey was one of the darkest periods in American history. I don’t visit these sights to glorify the people or events they depict. I enjoy learning what they tell me about our country. I believe our children and the immigrants coming to this country should learn about all our history , the evil and the good. The people demanding the removal of these important monuments probably couldn’t tell you a damn thing about them. Educate don’t eradicate. Bigotry is the only thing that should be removed.

    • Kevin Levin May 6, 2018 @ 13:54

      I don’t visit these sights to glorify the people or events they depict.

      I don’t either, but I am also sensitive to the fact that other people view these monuments differently.

  • Rob Baker May 6, 2018 @ 9:28

    Not aware of that. I was thinking of Alexander Hooper. Which I think is who the quote above is attributed to. Click <a href=”>here.

    • Kevin Levin May 6, 2018 @ 9:31

      You are correct and thanks for the link. I just made the correction.

  • Rob Baker May 6, 2018 @ 7:54

    I saw a bit of the history involved in this monument when I researched “Old Joe” in Gainesville, GA. I cannot think of the name of the major players in this monument, but he was a well known attorney known for giving Lost Cause nostalgia speeches at various dedications.

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