Many knew of this man, named King, but did not understand him or his dream. Dr. Martin Luther King believed that man was capable of change In America anything should be possible, and that old traditions and prejudices can be transformed.
So I start with the simple proposition which was so eloquently stated by George Bernard Shaw, “Other people, see things and say why? But I dream things that never were and I say, why not?”
The power of love does not fear hate, and should be visible everywhere. I do not believe King would be opposed to being in the company of his enemy. King said if you want to say something about him “…, say that I was a drum major for justice. Say that I was a drum major for peace. I was a drum major for righteousness. And all of the other shallow things will not matter.”
A monument representing peace should not be delayed because of a symbol of oppression and race supremacy is on the side of Stone Mountain. It is all the more reason why the monument should go on top the mountain. It would symbolize that peace and justice were able to triumph over oppression and racism.
Any symbol that represented hate, oppression, and racism should be removed from our public facilities– in particular Stone Mountain. Some would say that you cannot legislate morality or stop a person from having their own symbols of speech. I believe in freedom of speech. I also believe that history should not be erased, and justice shall not be delayed.
Put King on the Mountain.
A wise man would then ask well what about all the other symbols in the country that represented hate, oppression and racism? Will we remove them from public property? Will we sanitize history by removing all symbols and landmarks that represent our dark pasts? Will we place monuments of Native Americans on top of Stone Mountain and all the other places? Stone Mountain once belonged to the Native Americans (Indians) first, so ask them what they think.
The Confederate carvings were first started in 1923 and completed and dedicated in 1972. In fact ,Stone Mountain used to be private property and was purchased by the state of Georgia in 1958.
I do not see anything wrong with putting a monument of King on Stone Mountain, even if the Confederate carving is not removed. It would be a testament to the progress that has been made in our country. A symbol of the son of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners can share the common grounds of Stone Mountain. There are many places in America that have monuments of opposing ideas and philosophies in a common location. The State Capitol and the US Capitol have people and a statue of King in the same common location.
King challenged us not to be bitter and hate. He said that “we should meet physical force with soul force.” King said “we won’t be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream.”
Where we live today in many instances still determine the quality of life and the opportunities that we have. We still seek today, “the riches of freedom and security of justice.” We are still segregated in our homes, places of worship, and too many of our schools. We have freedom today, but so many of our people are lost with no direction.
An idea does not have color or gender. We cannot change history, but we can make our future better than our past.
It is man’s grace which allows him to conquer fear with love, and to share his blessings. Love shall not perish from this earth and peace will triumph over hate, racism and prejudice.
Ed Williams of Decatur is chairman of Concerned Citizens for Effective Government.