Stone Mountain Park
Stone Mountain Park encloses and surrounds the mountain commonly known as Stone Mountain. It is made of a mixture of quartz monzonite and stands over 1800 feet tall. The mountains earliest use by man is though to be by Native Americans. It has played a pivotal role in American history in many interesting ways. Today is used for recreation and entertainment for families all over Georgia.
Backstory and Context
The bas relief carving that protrudes proudly form the mountain is called the Confederate memorial. I depicts three of the most famous Confederate leaders; Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee, and Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, sitting nobly on horseback. The surface area of the relief spans three acres. The idea of the Confederate memorial was originated in 1916 by a woman named C. Helen Plane, who was a member of The United Daughters of the Confederacy. They commissioned a man named Gutzon Borglum to make their Confederate vision a reality but he abandoned the carving in 1925, though he later went on to complete Mount Rushmore. An american sculptor named Augustus Lukeman worked on it until 192 and all further progress was halted for the thirty years following. In 1958 the then governor of GA, Marvin Griffin called for its completion.The GA legislature then approved a measure to purchase Stone Mountain for no less than 1,125,000 dollars. Following its purchase in 1963, a sculptor named Walter Hancock started the job again. It was completed by Roy Faulkner in 1972.
Because of the recent release of the film 'Birth of a Nation' which heavily romanticized the KKK, and the lynching of a Jewish American man named Leo Frank who was accused of raping and murdering a 13 year old southern girl named Mary Phagan, Confederate sentiments were unusually high. So called 'charter members' of the Ku Klux Klan met on top of stone mountain to create a new iteration of the KKK. The members were led by elder original members of the Klan and a man named William J Simmons. That night they burned a cross on the summit of the mountain and dubbed it 'The Rebirth of the Klan'. There were close ties between the UDC ( United Daughters of the Confederacy) and the KKK and as a result the KKK was allowed to hold events on the mountain whenever they wished. When the state of Georgia purchased the mountain in 1958, they removed the Klan and condemned its properties.