"The area where the Obelisk Memorial was once located is unique in that it is entirely located in both the Congressional District, which Mr. Lewis has represented for over 33 years, as well as DeKalb County, Georgia, and the city of Decatur, the county seat, "reads the resolution.
Following the call for the Confederate monuments to be removed last year, “The Lost Cause”, which had been on the historic site since 1908, was removed in June 2020 Fox 5 AtlantaThe obelisk was placed by the United Daughters of the Confederation the same year the Georgian legislature ratified an amendment to prevent African Americans from voting. As a result of persistent demands for racial justice and the Black Lives Matter movement, a judge ordered the memorial removed in June 2020 and described the memorial as a "public nuisance" to remind residents of the Jim Crow era in the south.
"In short, the Confederate Obelisk has become an increasingly common target of graffiti and vandalism, a figurative lightning rod for friction between citizens, and a potential catastrophe that can occur at any time if individuals attempt to forcefully remove or destroy it "so the judge wrote in his order.
According to local news reportsActivists had been calling for the statue to be removed for almost three years.
Seven months after the judge's decision, officials decided the room would best be used in honor of Congressman Lewis. Lewis represented Georgia in the House of Representatives for more than 30 years. He died last year at the age of 80 after a battle with cancer. The decision is the result of responses from the community on how Lewis should be honored. After seeking suggestions from the John Lewis Commemorative Task Force, dozens of community letters requested a memorial to Lewis at the historic site in place of the former Confederate statue.
"John was a giant of a man with a humble heart," said DeKalb County Commissioner Mereda Davis Johnson he said Atlanta Journal Constitution "“He didn't meet strangers and he really was a man who loved people and who loved his country, which he represented very well. He deserves this honor. "
Although it is unclear what the memorial will look like, representatives from the Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights suggested portraying a young Lewis to commemorate the time he was on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma by Alabama state troops was hit hard.
"We hope that a statue of the young John Lewis will be erected in Decatur Square because our youth played such an important role in the removal of the [Confederate] monument," Beacon Hill Black representatives of the Alliance for Human Rights said on one Meeting in July as reported by The master . “This will be a reminder of how many young people have been a catalyst for change in the world. Where there was once a monument to intimidate and disenfranchise black voters, there will soon be a statue of an American hero who gave his life to build the movement that guarantees blacks the right to vote. "
While the move to replace the Confederate memorial with one by Lewis is to be welcomed, local human rights activists noted that the struggle to transform racist monuments in the area is not over. Fonta High, Co-Chair of the Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights, written down that there are other statues and monuments against black and indigenous minorities in the county.
“The passing of the resolution is an important step for the district. However, it reflects a double consciousness or cognitive dissonance that exists within our nation's leaders when they talk about unity and our district leaders that a statue of Lewis, a staunch supporter of the Indians, be considered just a few meters away The cannon from the “Indian Wars” of 1836 is where the Lost Cause Memorial once stood, ”said High.
Local students have requested the removal of the cannon that the City Commission has shown support for.