Dec 11 2017

Graven Image

Umm… Let’s define traitor, shall we?

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.

U.S. Constitution Article 3, Section 3

Fair enough. Now that we know what the rules are I ask you to consider whether Thomas Jonathan Jackson, Robert Edward Lee, and Jefferson Finis Davis levied war against the United States. This is an open book test, you can use the Intertubz all you want.

How Georgia Racists Created a Confederate Myth
by Shaun King, Sierra Pettengill, The Intercept

In 1916, a year after the KKK hosted a cross burning on Stone Mountain to announce their resurgence, plans moved forward to grossly deface the dome with a gargantuan 1.57-acre wide carving honoring the Confederacy. While it is true that many horrible men sustained and advanced systemic racism in the United States, the central roles played by many white women in advancing Jim Crow are drastically under-told. In “Graven Image,” however, the central role of women in making the mountain a monument for bigots is not overlooked. Pettengill shows us these white women in archival footage, seated in lace dresses, sewing a Confederate flag.

It was Caroline Helen Jemison Plane, the president of the Atlanta chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, who convinced the owners of the property to give the United Daughters of the Confederacy access to the mountain. Forming the Stone Mountain Confederate Monumental Association, Plane’s original vision was for the mountain to feature the KKK alongside Confederate generals.

From 1916 until the height of the civil rights movement of the 1960s, the carving proceeded in fits and starts, always with the foundational support of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. And what never stopped was the usage of the mountain as a gathering ground for racists.

It was widely understood among black Georgians during that time that you simply didn’t set foot near the place. I learned this firsthand all the way back in 1998 as a young student at Morehouse College — a school for young black men that has stood on its own Georgia hill since 1867. Sitting in an African American history course with the legendary Dr. Marcellus Barksdale, he told us we should never go there — not now or ever. With a seriousness that struck us all on that day, he communicated that everything about the place was not just rotten, but designed to offend and intimidate us.

Just as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement exploded in both respect and impact, Georgia’s white politicians, a full 100 years after the Civil War, decided that it was time again to pour their hearts, souls, and money into completing the Confederate carving once and for all. I mean, what did the American South need more in the 1960s than a monument to the leaders of the Confederate Army, right?

Stone Mountain was not made into the world’s largest monument to the Confederacy because it had anything at all to do with the Confederacy, it was done because the horribly racist people who bought it — and loved for it to be a meeting place for the KKK — knew full well that nothing would make their racist worldview more known than such a monument.

In “Graven Image,” we see Georgia’s racist, segregationist Governor Marvin Griffin announce that he’s using state funds to purchase the mountain in 1958, urging that the carving continue. He knew full well what such a monument in such a time meant, but moved forward anyway.

The KKK continues to use Stone Mountain for their gatherings to this very day. It makes perfect sense: Few places in the entire country have done more to make them feel more at home.

Stone Mountain was Charlottesville before Charlottesville. For generations, it has been the place where insecure white men put on costumes and walk around aimlessly with torches, in an effort to intimidate all who see their tomfoolery. Yet elected leaders in Georgia continue to embrace Stone Mountain’s painful past and refuse to even consider blasting away the monument and taking the entire park back to the way it was over 349 million years ago.

409 Views folks. WTF?