The Newnan Times-Herald

Opinion

Lawmakers, change the law and tear down the Confederate statues


  • By The Newnan Times-Herald
  • |
  • Jun. 23, 2020 - 5:27 PM

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Downtown Newnan, Georgia, is anchored by the most beautiful historic courthouse in Georgia. It is, however, flanked by two Confederate memorials to the east and west.

The time has come for these Confederate memorials, as well as all the others across the South, to be removed.

I have heard many objections to tearing down these statues and some of the reasons are more legitimate than others. Among the most common objections are: 1) it is currently illegal to remove the statues and 2) that we should not be in the business of “erasing history.”

The first objection is a legitimate legal obstacle, and the second one is a much easier fix!

I am going to address both of these objections so we can work on removing these statues.

The first objectors have a point. The State of Georgia has gone out of its way to protect Confederate memorials. There is a law in Georgia that monuments dedicated to the Confederate states of America cannot be moved or torn down. In fact, the law makes it a crime for local governments to even conceal the monument from being displayed!

Like the statues, this law must go. I am calling on all of the legislators of this state, and particularly the ones that represent this great county, to propose legislation that will repeal O.C.G.A. 50-30-1 and provide for a legal avenue to have all Confederate statues torn down.

To the second point, we do need to preserve history, but we are doing it in the wrong way by honoring the Confederate soldiers. Instead, we should honor the victims of the Confederacy and those who suffered at their hands.

You may be hesitant about this idea. But I encourage you to have an open mind. Germany doesn’t have shrines honoring the Nazis. They do, however, have memorials honoring the victims of the Holocaust.

I have never traveled to Germany, but I have been to the Holocaust museum in Washington, D.C., and it was one of the most powerful things I have ever experienced. The Holocaust museum is an immensely powerful reminder of a horrific time in world history. If we want to create powerful reminders of the past so that history is not forgotten, we should replace the Confederate statues with memorials to the victims of the Confederacy.

The Confederate statues must go. Removing the statues is a practical option that moves our community in the right direction and can provide a stepping stone towards healing racial divides.

Legislators and local lawmakers, now is your time to make a meaningful difference. Let’s remove these statues from our otherwise beautiful downtown.

Ryan Brown

Newnan