Milledgeville NAACP all in on relocating Confederate monument
Roughly two dozen NAACP members and supporters converged on Tuesday's City Council work session, calling for the relocation of the Confederate monument on South Jefferson Street.
Rarely, if ever, has there been this much fervor and momentum to have the local monument moved. It was largely crickets around here during the social justice protests in the spring and summer of 2020, back when the topic of Confederate monuments was making national headlines in different towns and cities.
Now, roughly three years later, the push is officially on.
Two speakers, two white and two black, addressed the City Council on Tuesday. Melissa Smith, who is white, took a more diplomatic and less polarizing approach.
"It's very complicated. It's a complicated situation," said Smith. "But, removal of the statue from the public square and into a museum or some other place where people can go and look at it they'd like would do a great deal of community healing...Removing the statue will, I think, will help heal the community and build and strengthen community bonds."
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Next up was Cyndee Edwards, president of the local chapter of the NAACP, who definitely didn't take a more diplomatic and less polarizing approach.
"It's a monument of un-American traitors and enslavers who should have been punished after the war for their crimes against the Republic," Edwards said.
Edwards' speech can be viewed by clicking immediately below...
Mayor Mary Parham-Copelan told the audience that the City Council is still consulting with its attorneys on the logistics and legalities of potentially relocating the monument, adding that the City Council would be taking no further action that evening.
"There is a state statute law that we have to go through in order to remove statues," the mayor said.
The City Council currently is comprised of three African-American members and three white members, with Parham-Copelan serving as the tie-breaking vote in the instance of any 3-3 deadlock.
Theoretically, if the City Council ultimately votes to move the monument, a lawsuit likely would follow. This is laid out in OCGA 50-3-1 as part of legislation passed by the General Assembly and signed into law by Brian Kemp in 2021. As part of the statute, a "public entity owning a monument or any person, group, or legal entity shall have a right to bring a cause of action for any conduct prohibited by this Code section for damages as permitted by this Code section. Such action shall be brought in the superior court of the county in which the monument was located."
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