Confederate monument fight continues in Decatur

- The fight over the fate of a Confederate monument in Decatur continues.

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Tuesday morning, the NAACP and a group called "Hate Free Decatur" took their message to the DeKalb County Commission in hopes of seeing the monument removed.

At the meeting Tuesday, three people spoke out against the monument remaining on the Decatur Square, calling it a symbol of hate that was directed during a troubling time for DeKalb County.

"The Atlanta race riots were 111 years ago last week. This monument went up only two years later. That is a direct connection that this monument was placed here to celebrate white supremacy and racial violence that took place in DeKalb County", Hate Free Decatur co-founder Sara Pattenaude replied.

Opponents of the monument told commissioners a group of attorneys has agreed to defend the commissioners’ decision pro bono if any legal action would arise.

Three speakers addressed the commissioners during public comment. They left the meeting after finding out Commissioner Mereda Davis Johnson plans to introduce a resolution condemning white supremacy and asking for the removal of the monument on October 10. The city of Decatur passed a similar resolution last week. 

At last Monday’s City of Decatur meeting, commissioners tabled a proposal that would create an African-American experience exhibit at the controversial Confederate monument and instead unanimously adopted a resolution, stating that the city is against white supremacy and urged DeKalb County to step in and remove the monument.

City leaders said because the Confederate memorial is on county property they do not have the authority to remove it, but stated their support for the removal publicly.

Under Georgia state law, “no publicly owned monument honoring Confederate soldiers shall be relocated, removed or altered in any fashion.” However, others argue that Georgia law allows for the monument to come down as long as it's preserved in a museum. 

The two groups who spoke to DeKalb County commissioners Tuesday were told the resolution condemning white supremacy will be on the agenda for the October 10 meeting. 

DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond said he will be meeting with groups on both sides of the issues and the commissioners to come up with a resolution that satisfies everyone.

MORE: Debate over Decatur Confederate monument heads to City Hall

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