AJC Watchdog: First Alert

Keeping watch on those who hold the public trust and money

The South rises in support of Confederate art at the Capitol

With the controversy surrounding the future of Confederate and segregationist symbols continuing to rage across the nation, The AJC took a look at the Capitol's collection of statues and paintings honoring past politicians with spotty records on race.

If you haven't read it, I encourage you to take a break and do so. You can find it here.

As part of the story, we asked readers to vote on individual works in the Capitol collection and gave them three choices: Keep it, take it down, or leave it up but with more information provided on their records.

Preliminary results show that those voting are hot to keep the collection as is. Of the 19,500 votes cast, 81 percent voted to keep the statues and paintings with no further historical context. Fewer than 14 percent wanted them moved and just 5 percent wanted more information placed alongside them.

Leading the pack is a Virginian with marginal connections to Georgia but a long historical shadow: Robert E. Lee. The Confederate commander earned 89 percent of the vote, with just 7 percent asking his gigantic portrait be removed.

Lee's portrait is a relatively new feature in the Capitol. It was moved from the Atlanta History Center as part of a legislative bargain when lawmakers voted to remove the Confederate emblem from the state flag in 2001.

The poll is not scientific, but it has been popular, particularly with the Southern heritage movement online. Several Facebook pages posted the poll and urged its subscribers to vote to keep their heroes in the Capitol.

If you'd like to vote in the poll, you can do so here. And here's another link to the story.

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About the Author

Joyner’s column, AJC Watchdog, investigates topics in your community and Georgia.