Front-running Democratic candidate for governor of Georgia, Stacey Abrams, is calling for the removal of the state’s Stone Mountain carving. This comes following the events in Charlottesville and as Abrams is attempting to become the first female African-American governor in American history. She gave her stance on the issue in a seven-part series of tweets that she made the other day in which Abrams outlined her stance on the carving and Confederate monuments in general.
But the visible image of Stone Mountain's edifice remains a blight on our state and should be removed. /6— Stacey Abrams (@staceyabrams) August 15, 2017
Stone Mountain is a large mound of mostly quartz monzonite. It is well-known for its granite quarries, which helped to build the foundation of the Lincoln Memorial and the locks of the Panama Canal. The site is also well known for its gigantic size, standing 825 feet (251 meters) tall and stretching out over five miles (eight kilometers).
However, the site is best known for its gigantic carving of Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson along with Confederate President Jefferson Davis. The three men are riding their favorite horses in the carving, Traveller, Little Sorrel, and Blackjack.
The carving is massive in size as the entire carved area takes up 1.57 acres (6,353 square meters) on the face of the mountain. It also stands about 400 feet (120 meters) above the ground and measures 90 to 190 feet (27 to 58 meters) across. Stone Mountain’s carving also stands as the largest high relief in the world.
Since the events that took place last week in Charlottesville, Virginia, there has been a lot of debate across America concerning Confederate monuments. In addition to all of that, the Stone Mountain carving also has a torrid history in relation to the Ku Klux Klan (KKK). Adding to the talk around the site was the fact that the KKK was recently denied a permit to burn a cross atop the mountain.
It was purchased by the Venable Brothers in 1887, with Sam Venable being a part of the resurgence and founding of the second KKK. In 1915, it was the site of a cross burning that took place at the top of the mountain and officially inaugurated the revival of the second KKK.
In 1923, the Venable brothers granted the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UCD) a spot on the north face of Stone Mountain to constructed a Civil War monument. However, the carving would go through various sculptors and at one point not be worked on for over three decades before it was finally considered complete in 1972.
During that time the government of Georgia purchased Stone Mountain in 1958 from the Venable family and were the ones to order the completion of the carving. That year the state also created Stone Mountain Park, as a recreation and entertainment area centered around the carving.
Abrams, who is currently the House minority leader in the Georgia General Assembly, will face a battle if she were to go ahead and try to have the carving removed. Besides the possible labor-intensive work and costs that would come with removal, she would also have to get state law changed. The Georgia code says that the carving must be “protected for all time as a tribute to the bravery and heroism of the citizens of the state who suffered and died in their cause.”
[Featured Image by John Bazemore/AP Images]