STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. - The Georgia Division of Sons of Confederate Veterans issued a statement on Monday in response to reports that a memorial was being planned to honor Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. atop Stone Mountain.
FOX 5 earlier reported that planning was underway to place a Liberty Bell replica on Stone Mountain as a memorial to the Civil Rights activist that recalls a famous line from his "I Have a Dream" speech, officials said.
“The act of the General Assembly which created the Stone Mountain Memorial Association specifically states the park, including both the mountain and all adjacent property, is to be maintained and operated as a Confederate memorial (OCGA 12-3-191). The erection of monuments to anyone other than Confederate heroes in Stone Mountain Park is in contradistinction to the purpose for which the park exists and would make it a memorial to something different. The park was never intended to be a memorial to multiple causes but solely to the Confederacy. Therefore, monuments to either Michael King or soldiers of any color who fought against the Confederacy would be a violation of the purpose for which the park was created and exists. The opinions of the park’s current neighbors and opponents are of no bearing in the discussion.”
“Furthermore, the erection of a monument to anything other than the Confederate Cause being placed on top of Stone Mountain because of the objections of opponents of Georgia’s Confederate heritage would be akin to the state flying a Confederate battle flag atop the King Center in Atlanta against the wishes of King supporters. Both would be altogether inappropriate and disrespectful acts, repugnant to Christian people.”
The planned tribute to King would broaden the story told by the Georgia state park, long home to a giant carving of former Confederate president Jefferson Davis and Generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, said Bill Stephens, chief executive of the Stone Mountain Memorial Association.
Some critics have suggested in recent years that the enormous Confederate carving, larger than a football field with the Southern generals astride their horses, should be sand-blasted away. The carving was completed in 1972, more than 50 years after work began.
The Associate Press contributed to this report