John Lewis memorial to replace Confederate monument in Georgia
A DeKalb County, Ga., Confederate monument will be replaced with a monument honoring the late civil rights leader Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.).
The monument on the grounds of the Historic DeKalb County Courthouse was removed last January, a period where numerous other statues were also removed by both local governments and protesters. County commissioners approved the resolution to install the Lewis memorial Jan. 26, according to The Champion.
Several residents requested such a memorial after Lewis’s death on July 17, although it remains unclear what the proposed monument will look like.
Representatives of the Beacon Hill Black Alliance for Human Rights suggested the memorial depict Lewis in his youth, when he was a confidant of Martin Luther King Jr. and was severely beaten by Alabama State Troopers on Selma’s Edmund Pettus Bridge.
“It is our hope that because our youth played such an essential role in the removal of the [Confederate] monument, that a statue of the young John Lewis during his [younger] years will be erected in the Decatur square,” the group said at a July meeting, according to the publication.
“This will be a reminder of how many young people have been a catalyst for change in the world. Where a monument once stood to intimidate and disenfranchise Black voters, soon will stand a statue of an American hero who gave his life to building the movement that ensures Black people have the right to vote,” they added.
Separately, a proposal in the state legislature that would add a statue of Lewis to the U.S. Capitol’s Statuary Hall has secured bipartisan support. It would replace Confederate vice president Alexander Stephens, who made the infamous “Cornerstone Speech” calling slavery foundational to the Confederacy.