Civil Rights Groups, Sons of Confederate Veterans Oppose MLK Memorial at Stone Mountain
ATLANTA - Civil rights groups and the Sons of Confederate Veterans agree on one thing: there should not be a memorial for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at Stone Mountain Park.
The Stone Mountain Memorial Association plans to erect a bell tower with words from Dr. King's “I Have a Dream” speech. In it, he called for freedom to ring from Stone Mountain.
The Southern Christian Leadership Conference, or SCLC, and the Atlanta and DeKalb County chapters of the NAACP oppose the plan, FOX 5 has learned.
SCLC President Dr. Charles Steele Jr. told FOX 5's Marissa Mitchell the plan has a hidden agenda and doesn't make sense.
“I would not have any problems with any monuments or statues in honor of Dr. King. But that's if it's for Dr. King and not included with the misled, violent hate that took place with the Confederacy,” Steele said.
Steele also said his group, as well as the NAACP branches, plan to meet with Georgia Governor Nathan Deal Wednesday afternoon to express their opposition. He added the meeting was already set up to express their desire to remove all symbols of the Confederacy from the park.
Dan Coleman, spokesperson for the Sons of Confederate Veterans, Georgia Division, wants the Confederate landmark to remain the way it is by honoring only Confederate leaders.
“We don't think that a Confederate memorial should be utilized by bringing in anything other than the Confederacy, whether it's black or white or whatever,” Coleman said.
Coleman also said his group wants to learn more about the King Bell Tower plan. At this time, he said the Stone Mountain Memorial Association hasn't contacted the group.
The Stone Mountain Memorial Association CEO Bill Stephens told FOX 5 Stone Mountain Park was created as a Confederate memorial and will remain so under Georgia law.