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Stone Mountain Park Denies Permit for Confederate Memorial Day Event

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The Stone Mountain Memorial Association has denied a permit to the Georgia division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) to hold an event this Saturday to mark Confederate Memorial Day.

Stone Mountain Park is controversial for its giant depictions of Confederate leaders, which are carved into the side of the mountain, and its historical association with the Ku Klux Klan.

The Georgia SCV has held a Confederate Memorial Day event at the site 18 times previously but last year the group’s plans were thwarted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bill Stephens, CEO of Stone Mountain Memorial Association, wrote a letter explaining the decision on March 31, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Stephens highlighted an ordinance saying that large events should not take place if they pose “a clear and present danger to public health or safety.”

“With the volatile nature of events of the immediate past and ongoing today, there is a clear and present danger to members of the [SCV], potential counterprotesters, park employees and guests,” his letter said.

Stephens also claimed that Stone Mountain Park’s public safety department “does not have adequate resources to protect the event’s participants, employees, and guests.”

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Stephens noted that Silver Dollar City, a group contracted to operate attractions at the park, said it would not allow SCV access to the Memorial Plaza Lawn amid concerns about COVID-19.

Martin O’Toole, a spokesperson for the Georgia division of SCV, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution he understood concerns surrounding COVID but questioned the suggestion that the event would be a “clear and present danger.”

“This is a memorial service that is part of the whole purpose for the park’s existence,” O’Toole said.

Stone Mountain is a controversial site dedicated to three major leaders of the Confederate States who played key roles in the American Civil War of 1861-1865. The carvings depict Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson as well as Jefferson Davis, first and only president of the breakaway nation.

The site has been a flashpoint in recent years, hosting a “white power” event that drew a large counter protest in 2016, while in 2019 the park closed rather than host a Super Bowl weekend gathering of white nationalists.

Visitors to the Sons of Confederate Veterans national website are currently greeted with a long message about the 160th anniversary of the “war of southern independence.”

“This is a tremendous opportunity for teachers, students, and families to get out and learn more about our Southern culture and its rich heritage,” SCV says.

“So much is portrayed by Hollywood and the ‘Cancel Culture’ movement today presenting the South as evil; when, in reality, the South was the most peaceful, rural, and Christian part of America before the war and Reconstruction destroyed the pastoral way of life here.”

The Liberty Buzz has asked Sons of Confederate Veterans Georgia division for comment.

Protesters call for the removal of Georgia’s confederate memorial at Stone Mountain Park. The park will not host a Confederate Memorial Day event this Saturday.
JESSICA MCGOWAN / Stringer/Getty Images

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