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In reviewing the book, The Public Art of Civil War Commemoration by Thomas J. Brown, I became very intrigued with the preservation of Confederate culture in the form of monuments. This led my curiosity to look for more images of Confederate monuments that I would consider being grand in scale. I performed a simple Google search on “Huge Confederate Monument” and it resulted in me finding an image of Stone Mountain, Georgia. From here I decided to perform a search on “Stone Mountain, Georgia” and found the website for Stone Mountain Park.

Stone Mountain – Georgia

Once on the Stone Mountain Park website, I was shocked to find out that this Confederate monument was not just the largest bas-relief in the World that I had come to know, but had now become a twisted version of Disneyland meets the Ku Klux Klan. The website states, “Serious fun. Endless adventure. It’s all waiting for you at Georgia’s #1 attraction. Just 15 minutes from downtown Atlanta and home to the world’s largest piece of exposed granite, this natural wonderland offers 3,200 acres of excitement for every member of the family. A mountain of memories awaits you.* I was shocked because I had just recently read that “Thirty-five-year-old William Simmons, an organizer and insurance salesman for a fraternal society, linked this initiative to the local excitement over director D. W. Griffiths’ enormously influential film Birth of a Nation (1915), in which the rise of the Ku Klux Klan enabled ex-Confederates to regain control of the South and effect a sectional reconciliation cemented by white supremacism. On Thanksgiving night in 1915, Simmons led sixteen men, including the owner of Stone Mountain, to the crest of the monolith to reestablish the Ku Klux Klan by the light of a burning cross. Stone Mountain thereby became sacred ground to the Klan at the same time that Borglum’s project benefited from the national veneration of Lee.”** And now here I was browsing at a website that was promoting this KKK holy land as a theme park to the masses.

KKK member in similar pose as Mickey in image below.

Mickey Mouse just needs needs to bleach his apparel.

 
I immediately began to wonder, if the people who had developed this theme park and the accompanying website had really believed that it was fun for the whole family? And if so, what families? White families, I would have to guess. Because I have a hard time believing that a black family would have the same wonderful experience, given the sites true history. This I feel, even with all of the additional attractions that have been added to Stone Mountain Park, such as the Summit Skyride, Sky Hike, Yogi Bear 4-D Adventure at the 4-D Theatre, Geyser Towers, and the self touted Atlanta tradition of the Lasershow Spectacular in Mountainvision.***
 
Oddly, the website didn’t seem to have any historic information about what the site actually is, an extravagant monument that was built to honor the memory of the Confederacy and their ideals. In a twist of irony, it did however claim to have the best Fourth of July fireworks display in all of Atlanta.****But then again, they did refrain from the use the term Independence Day. 
 
In closure, I believe that all of the above mentioned attractions that have been added over the years to Stone Mountain were actually added to distract from the sites true and disturbing history and that it is just another example of a Lost Cause fantasy.      
 
 

*Stone Mountain Park, “Things to Do”

http://www.stonemountainpark.com/attractions-shows/attractions.aspx (accessed June 21, 2012)

** Thomas J. Brown, The Public Art of Civil War Commemoration: A Brief History with Documents (Boston:Bedford /St. Martin’s, 2004) 102. 

***Stone Mountain Park, “Things to Do”

http://www.stonemountainpark.com/attractions-shows/attractions.aspx (accessed June 21, 2012)

****Stone Mountain Park, “Festivals and Events”

http://festivals.stonemountainpark.com/mini-section/default.aspx?id=37 (accessed June 21, 2012)

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