ATLANTA — The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) issued the following statement from Susan Corke, director of the Intelligence Project, in response to the Stone Mountain Memorial Association (SMMA), the board that runs Stone Mountain Park, issuing a permit to the Sons of Confederate Veterans. For the second year in a row, the SPLC wrote a letter to SMMA board members asking that the permit be rescinded for the safety of park visitors and staff. Local activists, including the Stone Mountain Action Coalition, have repeatedly called for this annual Confederate celebration to be cancelled.
“Despite pleas from the Stone Mountain Action Coalition and other local activists, the Stone Mountain Memorial Association (SMMA) continues to authorize the presence of purveyors of hate, extremism, and revisionist history with little regard for the safety of park visitors or staff, and zero respect for the city’s majority Black community.
“The SMMA continues to provide a permit and a platform to the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV), a group that exists to keep the Confederacy’s lies and propaganda alive. This year’s keynote speaker, John Weaver, is a prominent preacher in the neo-confederate hate movement known for supporting succession, slavery, and segregation in the South.
“As the SPLC has repeatedly stated, allowing SCV to celebrate the harmful ideals of the Confederacy, namely support for white supremacy and slavery, wrongly validates the rhetoric of SCV and its keynote speaker. This sends a dangerous message that Stone Mountain Park is not a safe space for all people to gather free of discrimination or harassment.
“We support local activists calling for the SMMA to rescind the SCV’s permit to gather on Saturday, April 29. The SMMA should reject arrogant displays of revisionist history and the Lost Cause narrative in a public park, which should be accessible and safe for all patrons.”
After learning that nine Black people were killed during a Bible study at Mother Emanuel A.M.E. Church in Charleston, South Carolina, by a gunman radicalized by white supremacist websites celebrating the Confederacy, the SPLC began to catalog all Confederate symbols in public spaces across the country.
Updated in Feb. 2022, the third edition of the SPLC’s Whose Heritage? report, data, and map shows that of the more than 2,600 Confederate symbols still publicly present across the U.S., 894 are Confederate statues. The balance consists of government buildings, plaques, markers, schools, parks, counties, cities, military property, and streets and highways named after anyone associated with the Confederacy.
The Whose Heritage? Action Guide helps communities take action to remove symbols of the Confederacy from public places.
If you know of a Confederate symbol in your area or want to share an update, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.