As a lifelong Cowetan, I’ve been proud and impressed by the reporting and opinions in the paper regarding the Confederate monuments on our Court Square.
Thoughtful debate around this topic is rare. I’ll share my own feelings about the 1886 soldier monument specifically.
I do think it has historical significance. It's a reminder of a fraught period in our community's history. It represents the Lost Cause narrative and symbolizes white people's assertion of dominance at a time when African Americans were just beginning to flourish thanks to new rights gained during Reconstruction. The question of whether this history should be memorialized on the courthouse steps, as if sanctioned by the county itself, is a no-brainer. Frankly, it distracts from the other memorials of Newnan’s brave soldiers who gave their lives to fight FOR our country rather than against it.
I was disturbed to read about our police responding to an act of free speech by a protester when he quoted Jesus in chalk on the base of the monument. This was not vandalism of government property but a harmless expression of personal belief. What is upsetting is that at a time when police should be listening to protesters and protecting their rights, they instead rushed to defend the statue as if it were being threatened.
Defending a monument to white supremacy is not a good look. Neither is intimidation of someone exercising free speech.
The appropriate place for this monument is at the cemetery. Let the Dead Bury Their Dead.