confederate monuments

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Georgia’s legislative session begins January 8, 2018. But a bill addressing the debate over Confederate monuments has already been filed by Decatur’s State Representative, Mary Margaret Oliver. The bill would allow local governments to decide whether or not to keep or remove monuments.

Thomas Hicks was once a local hero in the small mining community of McCaysville, Georgia. He was the town doctor who made middle-of-the-night house calls. But Hicks had a terrible secret, one still reverberating today. From 1950 to 1965, he sold more than two hundred babies on the black market. Some parents knew, others were told their children had died. These children are now fully grown adults, still known as the “Hicks Babies.” We talk to Melinda Dawson and Kriste Hughes about their search for birth parents. 

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We start with a conversation about transportation. Last week, local mayors and city leaders met to discuss transit and the I-285 expansion. Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul was at that meeting and tells us what he heard. 

Stephen Fowler / GPB News

The cool, crisp air of an Atlanta fall dipped the temperature into the 30s, but inside the Vision Cathedral, the congregation is armed with paper fans to stave off the heat and sweat of hundreds of bodies in motion and in worship.

The predominantly-black Pentecostal church sits at the intersection of Confederate Avenue and Ormewood Avenue.

But Bishop O.C. Allen and the rest of the church only recognize one of those names.

Daniel Mayer / Wikimedia Commons

After more than 5,000 survey responses, a task force must make recommendations about a Confederate monument in Georgia's oldest city.

WTOC-TV reports that Savannah officials received 17 letters, 181 emails and more than 4,800 online survey responses after asking for input on the memorial.

The comment deadline was Monday.

'You Are My Slave:' Kennesaw School's Civil War Day Sparks Mom's Ire

Oct 13, 2017
David Goldman / AP Photo/File

A new battle line has formed in the national debate over Civil War flags and symbols — this time at a Georgia school not far from a mountaintop where Confederate soldiers fired their cannons at Union troops more than a century ago.

The school near Kennesaw Mountain last month invited fifth-graders to dress up as characters from the Civil War.

A white student, dressed as a plantation owner, said to a 10-year-old black classmate, "You are my slave," said the black child's parent, Corrie Davis.

Two stained-glass windows honoring Confederate Gens. Robert E. Lee and Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson at the Washington National Cathedral will be removed immediately, the cathedral says.

The facility's leadership says the decision came after long deliberations on an important question: "Are these windows, installed in 1953, an appropriate part of the sacred fabric of a spiritual home for the nation?"

The answer, the National Cathedral's leadership decided Tuesday, is no.

John Amis / AP Photo/File

On today’s special edition of "Political Rewind" we talk to former Georgia governor Roy Barnes. In 2001 he led a risky and controversial fight to remove the Confederate battle emblem from the state flag.

Barnes knew he’d have a fight on his hands: business and civic leaders wanted the flag changed and so did  the Georgians who saw the flag as a symbol of the state’s slave past. But there would be fierce resistance from those who were determined to honor the Confederate past. Making the change would require skilled political maneuvering.

GPB News/Emily Cureton

In South Georgia’s Wiregrass Country, a plaque in the town of Quitman marks a hanging place. It’s where, in August of 1864, four men were executed for plotting a slave rebellion. Over the next century, mob violence against African-Americans often erupted in South Georgia.

This is where our Senior Editor Don Smith was born and raised. He moved away in 1958. Don recently went back to his hometown to mark the anniversary of the Civil War hanging, and talk with longtime residents about how they remember the county’s history of racial violence. GPB's Emily Cureton reports. 

Joshua L. Jones / Athens Banner-Herald

Following the recent events in Charlottesville, a national debate has been raging over what should be done with Confederate symbols across the South. In Athens, and across Georgia, many monuments and markers dedicated to Confederate soldiers persist in daily life.

Georgia House of Representatives

Today on “Political Rewind,” what might happen to Georgia legislators who work to remove Confederate memorials in locations in South Georgia? In an ominous message, Woodbine Rep. Jason Spencer, a white lawmaker, told African-American Rep. LaDawn Jones that “she won’t be met with torches but something a lot more definitive” if she continues to call for the removal of Confederate statues in South Georgia. This, just a day after elected officials and citizens came together to celebrate the display of unity that accompanied the unveiling of the statue of MLK at the Capitol.

Among the legendary music acts to come out of Athens in the ‘70s was the band Pylon. The group had been a local mainstay until 2009, when guitarist Randall Bewley passed away. But singer Vanessa Briscoe Hay recently revived the band into the newly formed Pylon Reenactment Society. They have a new EP, called “Part Time Punks Session,” coming out this fall. We talk with Vanessa Briscoe Hay and drummer Joe Rowe about the new music.

If you walked into Baltimore's Wyman Park Dell two weeks ago, a statue of Confederate Gens. Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson on horseback would have towered above you.

There's an inscription on the base that reads, "They were great generals and Christian soldiers and waged war like gentlemen." But now, there's nothing atop the pedestal except for a few potted plants.

On Monday, 54 years after Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous "I have a dream" speech and less than a month after a counterprotester was killed following a demonstration by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Va., a statue of the legendary civil rights leader will be unveiled outside the Georgia State Capitol in King's hometown of Atlanta.

The city of Charlottesville has shrouded two of its Confederate monuments in a show of mourning for the woman killed in the violent white nationalist protest there earlier this month.

As the debate rages over what role Confederate monuments do — and should — play in commemorating U.S. history, Jennifer Allen says we can learn a lot from Germany.

Allen is an assistant professor of German history at Yale University, and she specializes in something called memory politics.

It’s been two weeks since the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. The violence there renewed conversations about race relations, and have left some searching for answers on how to de-radicalize people. That’s something Shannon Martinez of Athens knows firsthand. She was a skinhead for several years, but managed to leave that life behind her.  We talk with her and Sammy Rangel of Life After Hate, a group that helps people move away from hate and violent extremism.

Commentary: Remove Atlanta's Confederate Avenue

Aug 22, 2017
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In Atlanta, there’s a debate brewing over a different kind of Confederate monument -- street signs. Atlanta mayor Kasim Reed is reviewing petitions to rename streets that have names tied to the Confederacy. Atlanta resident Joe Thomas recently started an online petition to rename Confederate Avenue. He explains why the name doesn’t belong in the city he loves.

Updated 9:45 a.m. ET

The president of the University of Texas at Austin has ordered the immediate removal of statues of Robert E. Lee and three other Confederate-era figures — Albert Sidney Johnston, John Reagan and James Stephen Hogg — from a main area of campus.

President Greg Fenves announced the statues' fate Sunday night, and the removals should be complete by mid-morning Monday. A university spokesman says the area has been blocked off.

As President Trump doubled down on his defense of Confederate statues and monuments this week, he overlooked an important fact noted by historians: The majority of the memorials seem to have been built with the intention not to honor fallen soldiers, but specifically to further ideals of white supremacy.

A statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee was removed from the entrance to Duke University Chapel early Saturday by order of the university president who said in a letter that the move was not only a safety measure but also meant to express the "abiding values" of the school.

The decision to remove the statue from the Durham, N.C., campus, comes after it was defaced on Wednesday and follows violent clashes last week in Charlottesville, Va., between right-wing extremists and counterprotesters over plans to remove another statue of Lee.

Work crews took down a statue of former Chief Justice of the United States Roger Taney overnight in Annapolis, Md., where it had stood since 1872.

Though the violence has ended in Charlottesville, Va., debates and protests continue and Confederate statues and monuments are being removed all over the country.

As we struggled this week to make sense of what happened in Charlottesville, Va., some big questions bubbled up:

What lessons does history teach about white resentment in the United States? How is the experience of other countries and other times — like Germany — relevant? How are those in power reacting to President Trump's shifting response?

Updated at 4:59 p.m. ET

President Trump stood by his heavily criticized defense of monuments commemorating the Confederacy in a series of tweets Thursday morning. Trump said removing the statues of Confederate generals meant removing "beauty" — that would "never able to be comparably replaced" — from American cities. As he did in a Tuesday press conference, he also attempted to equate some Confederate generals with some of the Founding Fathers.

Strung together, the tweets read:

How Should Georgia Handle Its Confederate Monuments?

Aug 16, 2017
Grant Blankenship / GPB

As politicians and activists call for the removal of Confederate monuments across Georgia, an Atlanta historian says there’s another possible solution: add historical context.

“If you don’t take them down, then you must contextualize them,” said Sheffield Hale, CEO of the Atlanta History Center.

To walk around Berlin is to constantly, inevitably, trip over history.

Almost literally, in the case of the Stolpersteine, or "stumbling stones," embedded in the sidewalks outside homes where victims of the Holocaust once lived.

Germany's culture of "remembrance" around the Nazi years and the Holocaust is a well-documented and essential part of the nation's character. Though occasionally political parties may challenge it, those elements have thus far remained thoroughly fringe.

At the center of Charlottesville's violent white nationalist rally was a long-simmering controversy over the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.

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