petition to carve OutKast into Atlanta Confederate monument Stone Mountain regains steam
Confederate statues are being torn down and beheaded across the country. The Navy, the Marines, and even NASCAR have banned Confederate flags. These are small, way-too-late victories, but victories nonetheless, and we hope to see more similar changes occur, no matter how much the president pushes back.
On a similar note, a 2015 MoveOn.org petition to carve Atlanta icons Big Boi and Andre 3000 of OutKast riding in a Cadillac into the face of Atlanta's Stone Mountain -- a Confederate monument that currently has carvings of Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis and Stonewall Jackson -- has been regaining steam. Georgia-born, Brooklyn-based artist and animator Mack Williams started the campaign in 2015 (and Big Boi endorsed it), and as he told The New Yorker, "I tried to make it clear that it was mostly a joke and, you know, I was sticking my thumb in the eye of people who’d take offense. There’s obviously worthier folks to add to the mountain [like Martin Luther King Jr and John Lewis] but I think OutKast would piss off the right people."
The campaign became less of a joke as MoveOn's people got involved and worked towards putting it in front of the Governor. It's now addressed to the Georgia State House, the Georgia State Senate, and Governor Brian Kemp, and as of this post, it's less than 200 signatures away from reaching its goal of 15,000. It reads:
I believe it's important to recognize the history and heritage of all Georgians. However, the carving of Davis, Lee, and Jackson on the side of Stone Mountain only represents a small, regrettable time in the history of the Peach State. It's high time we added a bit more of our history and culture to this monument.
By no means do we wish to erase or destroy the current carving, which, regardless of its context, is an impressive and historic work of art. We simply wish to add new carvings, of Atlanta hip-hop duo Outkast, to the mountainside. There's plenty of room.
I believe that Daddy Fat Sacks and Three Stacks should be carved riding in a Cadillac (as is their wont). This will help the new carving blend nicely with the Confederates who are on horseback.
Outkast are two of the greatest Georgians in the history of our state. It's about time the Empire State of the South paid proper tribute to them, while also improving a great monument and tourist attraction.
You can sign here.
If you're unfamiliar with MoveOn, their About Us page explains, "Whether it’s supporting a candidate, passing legislation, or changing our culture, MoveOn members are committed to an inclusive and progressive future. We envision a world marked by equality, sustainability, justice, and love. And we mobilize together to achieve it." They add, "MoveOn members are a force for social justice and political progress. We come from all 50 states and all walks of life."
A recent CNN article provides more background on the cruel history of Stone Mountain:
The history of the giant carvings on Stone Mountain, near Atlanta, is instructive. Planning of the carvings began only in 1914. Substantial funding for the project came from the KKK, which met on the mountain's top to burn crosses and the project's first directors and promoters were Klan members. The original plan was to depict General Robert E. Lee leading Confederate soldiers and Klan members up the mountain. Many other Confederate monuments were erected during this period, helping consolidate Jim Crow's racist hierarchy.
A second wave of white-supremacist monuments appeared in the late 1950s. After the Supreme Court outlawed segregation in public schools in 1954, Southern states vowed a program of "Massive Resistance." Part of the resistance was installing more white-supremacist icons. This was when the State of Georgia purchased Stone Mountain; finished the huge carvings -- bigger than the presidents on Mount Rushmore -- of two Confederate military leaders, Stonewall Jackson and Lee, and the political leader, Jefferson Davis; and added the Confederate battle flag to Georgia's state flag.
Like so many Confederate monuments, the carvings on Stone Mountain were not an innocent artifact of Civil War history. Instead, they were a middle finger both to African Americans and to the federal government that was trying to end discrimination. Stone Mountain was such an evil icon that Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. invoked it in his "I have a dream" speech.
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