Memorial Of John Lewis Will Replace Confederate Monument: It is planned to erect a memorial to civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis on the grounds of the DeKalb County Courthouse, which will take the place of the Confederate monument that had previously stood on the site. The resolution was approved by the DeKalb County Commissioners on Tuesday (Jan. 26).
Mereda Davis Johnson, a DeKalb County commissioner, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that John was a “giant of a guy with a modest heart” who passed away recently. “He knew no strangers, and he truly was a man who cherished the people around him and who cherished his nation, which he represented admirably. He is deserving of this recognition.”
According to the Associated Press, the United Daughters of the Confederacy placed in place “The Lost Cause” in 1909, the same year that the state of Georgia prohibited African-Americans from exercising their right to vote. When it came up for removal in 2020, the judge declared it a public nuisance, thus circumventing a provision that prohibited the demolition or relocation of “publicly held monument[s] honoring Confederate soldiers.”
“In short, the Confederate obelisk has become an increasingly frequent target of graffiti and vandalism, a figurative lightning rod for friction among citizens, and a potential catastrophe that could occur at any time if individuals attempt to forcibly remove or destroy it,” the judge wrote in his order. The Confederate obelisk is located on the grounds of the University of Georgia.
MLK Jr.’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech was delivered at the 1963 March on Washington, and Lewis was the final person to speak at the event that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. attended. He was the leader of the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, and he represented Georgia’s 5th Congressional District from 1985 until his death.
Following his death, numerous people advocated for the naming of popular streets and schools in his honor, which was granted. Tennessee’s City Council and Davidson County Council unanimously approved the designation of Rep. John Lewis Way, which runs down a prominent Tennessee boulevard. A civil rights legend, John Lewis was honored by having his high school in Virginia renamed John Lewis High School, and he was also honored by having the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama dedicated after him.