ATLANTA, Ga. (CW69 News at 10) — Those who have long wanted to see the Confederate statue in Decatur taken down are celebrating after crews removed it last night and just before Juneteenth. DeKalb County Superior Court Judge Clarence Seeliger deemed it a nuisance and ordered its removal.
Fonta High, a board member of the Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights, said it was due time.
“[It] was intentionally placed where it was to intimidate Black people,” she said.
She said the United Daughters of the Confederacy erected it in 1908, during the time when the state legislature added an amendment prohibiting Black people from voting.
CW69’s Valencia Jones discussed Beacon Hill’s stance in a Zoom interview today.
Valencia: “There are those who say the Confederate statues are more about heritage and not hate. What do you have to say in response to that?”
Fonta High: “It doesn’t reflect history, maybe a certain people’s heritage, but then it oppresses a whole generation of people, a whole race of people, so therefore, we find it doesn’t belong in the City of Decatur.”
Calls for the removal of Confederate statues in Charlottesville and the civil unrest that followed there in 2017 inspired local activists to take action in Decatur.
Beacon Hill Black Alliance For Human Rights Co-Chair Mawuli Davis joined in on the interview.
“It’s just a beautiful opportunity for us to realize the possibility and potential that we have as a community to change, and change things dramatically,” said Davis.
Not everyone is on board with taking down the statues, as the monuments have been the source of heated and ongoing debate.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans issued a press release condemning the removal of the Decatur statue, calling it “cowardly.”
They said it contradicts a Georgia code that protects veteran monuments, and they said they are vowing to take legal action.
High and Davis said the statues represent an ideology of White supremacy. Davis said it’s more than just about taking down monuments. He said the entire system should be taken down.
DeKalb County officials have said they will consider adding new historical markers around the area.
“We are really hoping that it’s a place that we can come and gather and continue to lift up our voices as we remember our ancestors,” said Davis, in reference to the spot where the statue was removed.
County officials have said the statue is now in storage.