The city council of Kennesaw, a community that once built its identity around its role in the Civil War, voted 4-to-1 on Monday night to ask the state Legislature to revisit a 2001 state law that stripped local governments of the power to determine the fate of Confederate monuments in their midst.
At the heart of the matter is a local memorial featuring the Confederate battle emblem. From the AJC’s Ben Brasch:
The flag, which was cut down at least two times last week, is located in the heart of downtown at the corner of Main and Cherokee streets. A recent petition has garnered thousands of signatures to take down the flag following national efforts to remove Confederate items from public spaces following a rally by white nationalists that turned deadly in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The message from the Kennesaw council to state lawmakers was somewhat coded:
Monday night, council members voted 4 to 1 to ask state leaders to “allow local municipalities the ability to determine, in their sole discretion and within their jurisdictional limits,” the best way to honor the service of military personnel.
The Marietta Daily Journal included this extended quote from Mayor Derek Easterling:
“I’m uncertain about the need to move Confederate or other historical monuments of any type into a museum or secluded venue…I am certain, however, of the need to change the direction of our history, the history we are creating today.
“We cannot change the events that brought us to this place and time, but we can certainly change the direction we travel from this point forward. Symbolism is not our enemy — our enemy lies deep in the hearts of these people who use these symbols to express or represent their alternate views.”