Stone Mountain Park, the largest high relief sculpture in the world, has attracted white supremacists across the United States.
Georgia’s Stone Mountain Park was once the site of the founding of the second Ku Klux Klan (in 1915) and is now home to the controversial rock relief depicting three Confederate leaders: Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. The massive Mount Rushmore-style tribute is known to have attracted white supremacists across the nation, while sparking rage among many who believe the park should be a memorial to the Civil War, not just the Confederacy.
Although this isn’t the first time Confederate memorials, monuments, and other symbols have become subject for debate, many feel motivated to question the symbols’ role following last June’s horrific, racially-motivated massacre at a historic black church in Charleston, South Carolina.
W. Fitzhugh Brundage, the William B. Umstead Distinguished Professor and chair of history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, suggested that Stone Mountain Park might work as a museum on the history of American white supremacy, but also that it might be best to start by addressing the smaller monuments and memorials often found at colleges and universities.
Princeton has already begun to experience just that. Last November, Woodrow Wilson’s legacy at the Ivy League university came to question when student protestors at Princeton built a case that shed light on the unapologetic racist.
As the nation continues to confront its past and the proper place for Confederate memorials, monuments, and other such symbols, the country remains divided.