Committee on Confederate monuments makes recommendations

There could be some major changes to some of Atlanta's Confederate monuments and street names.  This past August when there were calls for Confederate monuments to be torn down, Mayor Kasim Reed tasked a committee to look into it. That committee discussed their recommendations Monday night.

The Advisory Committee on Atlanta Street Names and Monuments Associated with the Confederacy is made up of historians, civil rights leaders, and business leaders. For weeks they did research and listened to residents like Harold Alexander who spoke Monday night.

"Under no way can you make a moral decision and continue to leave the memorials that honor the terrorism that was the daily lives of those who were enslaved," said Alexander.

The committee discussed several recommendations they plan to present to the Mayor and council.  Among them, they say the Lion of the Confederacy and Obelisk at Oakland Cemetery remain under the care of the Historic Oakland Foundation, but with contextualization and interpretation. The committee also said the flagpole must be moved and the Confederate flag should be taken down.

"While those two monuments are painful for me, I realize with the proper contextualization, it is bearable," said committee member Sonji Jacobs.

The committee also recommended the Peace Monument at Piedmont Park be removed. The monument was defaced by protesters in August.

The committee also recommended specific streets like Confederate Avenue, and Lee, as well as streets named after Nathan Bedford Forrest, John B Gordon and Howell Cobb be changed immediately.

The committee plans to submit their recommendations within the next 10 days. Committee Chair Sheffield Hale said if the city accepts the recommendations we won't see changes overnight, but we will be moving in the right direction.

"It's a long process, and it should be because this is important, and this is the first step," said Hale.