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Georgia County To Replace Confederate Monument With John Lewis Statue

The Late U.S. Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga), is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington in 2017. (Lawrence Jackson/Associated Press)

By Sara Boboltz
Black Voices

A tribute to the Confederacy outside a courthouse in Dekalb County, Georgia, will be replaced by a memorial to the late civil rights icon John Lewis, after unanimous approval from the county’s board of commissioners this week.

Lewis represented the Atlanta area, including parts of Dekalb County, in Congress for more than 30 years until his death at age 80 in July, following a battle with pancreatic cancer.

The resolution approved by the county states that the spot outside the courthouse is “the most fitting” place for a memorial to Lewis, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

The Confederate statue ― an obelisk titled “The Lost Cause” erected in 1908 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy ― was removed in June. Local residents watched and cheered as it came down.

A judge who ordered the obelisk’s removal said it has become a “public nuisance” due to protesters demanding it be removed. Georgia law technically stipulates that “no publicly owned monument honoring Confederate soldiers” may be removed or relocated in the state.

The obelisk was installed the same year that Georgia approved an amendment meant to stop Black Georgians from voting, as Fox 5 Atlanta noted in its report.

“John was a giant of a man, with a humble heart,” Commissioner Mereda Davis Johnson said in a statement to CNN. “He met no strangers and he truly was a man who loved the people and who loved his country which he represented very well.”

Details on the Lewis memorial’s appearance and installation have yet to be released.