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Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Stone Mountain Confederate Memorial Carving

Stone Mountain is an 825 foot tall and a mile and a half wide granite dome that "stands out" in northwestern Georgia.  It was formed about 300 million years ago when molten rock pushed up into the Earth's crust from the super-heated liquid core.

An enclosed gondola ride
takes visitors to the top
of Stone Mountain.

One gondola is on the way to
the summit & one has just
started its descent.

The Klu Klux Klan was founded by former Confederate soldiers and Southern men who opposed Reconstruction following the Civil War.  The white supremacist group used violence to intimidate and kill newly freed African Americans.  The original Klan was suppressed by the federal government in the 1870s.

In 1912 the idea of a huge sculpture to memorialize the Confederacy at Stone Mountain was conceived.  

Three years later, "Colonel" William J. Simmons, a recruiter of men's fraternity, secured a charter for the group from the State of Georgia.  In November 1915 Simmons and sixteen members of the newly established group marched to the top of Stone Mountain and lit a cross at its summit and proclaimed the rebirth of the Klu Klux Klan.  The reconstituted group spread across state lines and became politically active.  After the Brown v Board of Education ruling by the US Supreme Court in 1954, violence once again became one the tools used by the Klan against African Americans and Civil Rights workers.

A temporary structure is
being set up for the
seasonal laser light show.

Memorial Hall houses the
Stone Mountain Museum.

This is the largest Bas-Relief
sculpture in the world,
measuring 90 by 190

Confederate Generals Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson are featured, along with Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

Sculptor Gutzon Borglum started carving the bas-relief in 1923 and left the project in 1925 following disagreements with the managing board.  Sculptor Augustus Lukeman took up the project later that year and by 1928 General Lee's head was completed.

Funding ran out and the property changed hands several times before Sculptor Walker Kirkland Hancock took up the job in 1964.  The project was completed in 1972.

Stone Mountain and its surrounding 3,200 acres are visited by about 4 million people per year.

Following the removal of the Confederate Flag from the South Carolina State Capitol in 2015, the Georgia NAACP has called for the removal all Confederate symbols on Georgia State properties, including the sculpture at Stone Mountain.  The Georgia State Legislature is responsible for approving any changes at Stone Mountain Park.

1 comment:

Georgia Flagger said...

Not sure of the KKK mentions. The original group was disbanded in 1869 and had nothing to do with Georgia at all.

The carving plans were made prior to the rebirth of the 2nd KKK by a few years.
That iteration of the KKK was ended by the Federal govt in the 1940s.
The Federal govt helped to create the Carving with a fundraising half dollar in 1924. The VP of the USA spoke at the unveiling in 1970.

Again, not sure about the fascination with the KKK you have