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Discussion continues to swirl around fate of Augusta Confederate monument

Published: Sep. 10, 2020 at 11:12 PM EDT
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - Conversations continued tonight about the Confederate monument in downtown Augusta, and whether it should be removed.

The National Action Network of CSRA held a roundtable discussion to talk about the history behind the statue and the legal challenges that come with taking it down.

One of more than 1,000 Confederate monuments built in the South, the 76-foot-tall monument can’t be missed.

It says: “No nation rose so white and fair: None fell so pure of crime.”

The monument on Broad Street is the main focus of local calls for change.

“I’m not advocating for this monument to be destroyed or anything. I just want it removed out of the public eye,” said Morris Porter, C4 member.

During the roundtable discussion, the CSRA’s Coalition of Comprehensive Change group discussed the meaning of the monument.

“These symbols. They’re not meaningless. There’s a reason we’re talking about these symbols. They send strong political messages,” said John Hayes, professor at Augusta University.

It’s a message Porter says is still taunting decades later.

“This monument is the main monument because it’s sitting in the center of downtown, where all people patronize. It’s divisive because we can’t come down here and not have to see this,” he said.

A petition to remove the statue has already has more than 9,000 signatures, but now they’re aiming for more.

“20,000 will probably give our local leadership the backing they need. It will maybe encourage them -- maybe influence them,” Porter said.

Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis Jr. formed a committee of 11 to make recommendations on what to do with Confederate monuments and street names. A recommendation is expected by early October.

But Porter says the coalition will continue the conversation until its gone.

““If we want a brighter future — we want our kids to be able to walk the streets equal — then we need to get this monument removed,” he said.

The state of Georgia does have laws that make removing monuments difficult, but Confederate monuments in five other Georgia counties have been removed recently despite the challenges.

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