The fight to remove Confederate monuments has only intensified over the last month of nationwide protests. Now, it’s not only protestors asking for these monuments to be removed but even the relatives of those who had monuments made in their memory.
AJC reports that 44 descendants of Confederate Gen. John B. Gordon have sent a letter to Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) requesting that the monument of Gordon at the state capitol building be removed. In calling for the removal of the statue the family wrote that the “primary purpose of the statue was to celebrate and mythologize the white supremacists of the Confederacy.” The letter went on to say “The continuing presence of this statue on public property serves to negate and undermine the past and ongoing struggle of Georgians to overcome and reverse the legacy of slavery and oppression of black Americans.”
The bronze monument depicts Gordon on a horse in full Confederate attire. Gordon was not only a general in the Confederate army but is also widely believed to have been a leader in the Ku Klux Klan. Nothing says our government isn’t a vessel for white supremacy like having a monument to a literal white supremacist in front of a state capitol building.
In the wake of George Floyd’s killing, protestors have consistently been seen at the capitol protesting the monument. The fight to remove the monument has one significant hurdle by way of a law Gov. Kemp passed in 2019. That law prohibits Confederate monuments from being completely removed and instead they must be relocated to a “site of similar prominence.”
But the removal of a Confederate monument in Decatur last week — the civil government equivalent of a midnight lightning strike — showed a potential path.
DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond made the decision to dismantle the monument in a window of time created by Superior Court Judge Clarence Seeliger, who had ruled that the 30-foot obelisk had become a public nuisance and allowed Thurmond to circumvent the 2019 law.
Hopefully, a precedent being established in Decatur along with the family literally denouncing their heritage will lead to the statue being removed. Though considering Kemp saw fit to legally protect monuments to literal white supremacists, I doubt it.