With Confederate monuments making headlines in the wake of Charlottesville, the front-runner heading into the Democratic primary for Georgia's governorship is calling for the removal of a massive carving of Confederate leaders from the state's Stone Mountain, WSB-TV reports. "We must never celebrate those who defended slavery and tried to destroy the union," the Atlanta Journal-Constitution quotes Stacey Abrams as saying Tuesday. Abrams calls the carving of Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, and Jefferson Davis "a blight on our state" and a "celebration of racism, terror, and division." And it's big: Reportedly the "largest high relief sculpture in the world" at 90 feet by 190 feet.
The Stone Mountain memorial was dedicated in 1970 and completed in 1972, Fox 5 reports. According to Jay Bookman at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, it was backed and sculpted by Ku Klux Klan members as a tribute to the KKK. “I feel it is due to the Klan, which saved us from Negro domination and carpetbag rule, that it be immortalized on Stone Mountain,” one of the people behind the carving once told its sculptor. Removing the carving from Stone Mountain would require changing a Georgia law that states the memorial must be "preserved and protected for all time as a tribute to the bravery and heroism of the citizens of this state who suffered and died in their cause.” (Read more Georgia stories.)