Resolution opposing monument introduced
DeKalb County Commissioner MeredaDavis Johnson introduced resolution calling for removal of the Confederate monument on Decatur’s square during a Planning, Economic Development and Community Services Committee meeting on Oct. 10. The committee unanimously approved the document, and now it seems mere formality that county commissioners will do the same during their Oct. 24 meeting.
If that happens then both DeKalb and the city of Decatur have officially signed off on moving the monument, probably to the Decatur cemetery.
One problem is that the county is uncertain about who owns the monument and who owns the land it sits on. Davis-Johnson said that a monthlong title search has proved inconclusive.
“It’s not an issue with the city of Decatur,” City Manager Peggy Merriss said last week. “We’re pretty certain we don’t own the monument.”
The roughly 30-foot tall obelisk was commemorated in front of the courthouse in April 1908. But that building burned in 1916, destroying most of the interior and most likely all records within.
No matter who owns it, there’s also the matter of a state law that appears to prohibit such monuments from being “relocated, removed, concealed, obscured, or altered in any fashion.”
Sen. Elena Parent, D-Atlanta, state Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver, D-Decatur, and state Rep. Renitta Shannon, D-Decatur, are currently drafting legislation to allow local governments to take action involving monuments in their communities
But Davis Johnson prefers the monument’s removal before the General Assembly even convenes next January. Assuming DeKalb’s commission approves the resolution, the county has 30 days to get a definitive title verdict and a legal opinion on the state law.