Blocked from taking Confederate statues down, Atlanta, Birmingham, Memphis try other ideas

ATLANTA – The Confederate soldier presides over Piedmont Park, a lonely but still heroic figure. The Civil War has ended; now an angel is guiding him to lay down his rifle.

Atlanta’s Peace Monument, erected in 1911, honors the Peace Mission led by Southerners to reconcile with the North after America’s deadliest conflict.

What’s missing is the reason that Confederate leaders seceded from the United States and attacked it in the first place: To preserve and extend the enslavement of African-Americans. The reconciliation it depicts is between the whites of the South and the whites of the North – it has nothing to say about black Americans, their experience with slavery, or their struggle for equality and justice.

For that reason, the Peace Monument in recent years has been the target of protests and vandalism.

And it’s why civil rights leaders and public officials in this majority-black city now want it removed.

“We’ve allowed the ones who lost the war to write the narrative,” said the Rev. Tim McDonald, pastor of First Iconium Baptist Church. “It’s not good for our children. It’s not good for our culture.”

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