Here’s what Augusta’s Confederate monument task force wants to change

Published: Dec. 1, 2020 at 11:19 PM EST
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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - After a summer of protests, Augusta Mayor Hardie Davis Jr. created a task force of 11 people to come up with a plan regarding several monuments, roads and landmarks that honor Confederate military officers.

Four months later, that task force has a plan for changes its recommends and the ways to make that happen.

Some say its history, while others say it’s a taunting message.

“We want to be able to be proud of living in Augusta, so the only way we can do that if we’re being represented properly,” Morris Porter with the CSRA National Action Network said.

Augusta’s Task Force on Confederate monuments says it’s come up these things it wants to change:

  • Renaming the Calhoun Expressway, Gordon Highway and Fort Gordon.
  • Removing signage and monuments connected to Jefferson Highway.
  • Relocating monuments that stand on Greene Street and Broad Street.

“This is a divisive mechanism keeping us from being able to unite.”

Porter is a member of the National Action Network, one of many organizations fighting for the removal of landmarks like these.

“I see that is a positive step forward and it’s on leadership now to make the decisions,” Porter said.

It’s a decision in the hands of the commission, but change won’t come easy. Like six other states, Georgia has laws that make it difficult to remove Confederate landmarks.

The law states military memorials cannot be altered unless to preserve, protect, or help interpretation. And monuments cannot be moved from public view, but they can be moved to another public property.

That is the idea behind moving the Broad Street monument to Magnolia or West View Cemetery and requesting St. James United Methodist Church house the Greene Street monument.

And renaming a federal facility like Fort Gordon is not a local decision. But Porter says until they see change, the conversation will continue.

“We’re going to stay vigilant. We’re going to stay engaged,” Porter said.

The commission was supposed to discuss the task force recommendations Tuesday, but that meeting ran a little long.

Another meeting has been called for next Tuesday to discuss and possibly vote on this recommendation.

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