Atlanta forms committee to review Confederate monuments and streets


An advisory committee has been formed to review Confederate street names and city-owned monuments in Atlanta.

The confederate monuments advisory committee will evaluate each marker and “recommend how the community can be involved in the process to determine the handling of each landmark,” the city announced Friday. 

Mayor Kasim Reed said renewed attention was brought to Confederate markers after “the tragic events in Charlottesville, Virginia.” Heather Heyer died and others were injured after being struck in August by a car at a “Unite the Right” demonstration of neo-Nazis, white nationalists and members of the KKK in Charlottesville.

A committee was assembled to approach the decisions “in a thoughtful manner,” Reed said in a statement. 

Reed appointed six members to the committee and City Council named five members earlier this month. The committee will look to historians, business leaders and residents to provide context and perspective, city officials said. 

One of Reed’s appointees was Sonji Jacobs, senior director of corporate affairs at Cox Enterprises, which also owns The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Jacobs was previously the director of communications for Mayor Kasim Reed and, prior to that, a reporter for The AJC.  

Jacobs said the “conversation and work” to be tackled by the committee is important.

“We’ve seen far too many examples of how a lack of understanding and dialogue can lead to deep rifts in a community or city,” Jacobs said. “This committee brings together a sharp, engaged group of Atlanta leaders to help ensure our city is thoughtful and deliberate about how we recognize and learn from the past so that we can build a better future.”

Attempts to reach other committee members late Friday afternoon were not successful.

MORE: One Cobb company made more than 140 of the South’s Confederate statues

City Councilman Kwanza Hall, who is one of 11 candidates running for mayor, said since Reed first announced that he planned to form a panel in August, the work had already begun.

In response to a question at the Atlanta Press Club mayoral debate Thursday — which is airing Sunday at 10 a.m. on PBA30 — Hall said statues and other objects belong in museums where they can be presented with historical context.

“We're going in the right direction, I do believe, in removing any vestiges of the past, racism, discrimination or hatred that are still symbolic,” he said. "Hatred has no place in our society, especially in our city.”

Former mayor Maynard Jackson changed the name of Forrest Avenue, in Atlanta, which had been named after a former Grand Dragon of the Ku Klux Klan, Hall pointed out.

The first committee meeting is scheduled for Oct. 18 at Atlanta City Hall. 

The committee members are:

· Sonji Jacobs, senior director of corporate affairs at Cox Enterprises;

· Sheffield Hale, president and CEO of Atlanta History Center;

· Derreck Kayongo, CEO of Center for Civil and Human Rights;

· Dan Moore, founder of APEX Museum;

· Shelley Rose, senior associate director of Anti-Defamation League’s southeast region;

· Larry Gallerstedt, CEO of Cousins Properties and trustee of Robert Woodruff Foundation;

· Douglas Blackmon, senior fellow and director of public programs at University of Virginia’s Miller Center

· Nina Gentry, owner of Gentry Planning Services;

· Regina Brewer, preservation consultant;

· Martha Porter Hall, community advocate;

· Brenda Muhammad, executive director of Atlanta Victim Assistance.

Staff writer Arielle Kass contributed to this report.

Like Intown Atlanta News Now on Facebook | Follow us on Twitter

Recently in the news:



Next Up in Local

Student spat on, punched suspect before GSU dorm stabbing, police say
Student spat on, punched suspect before GSU dorm stabbing, police say

A Georgia State University student walked up to another student, spat on him and punched him before the suspect stabbed him multiple times in a university dorm, the school’s police chief said Thursday. University and Atlanta police responded to a call about the fight Tuesday in Piedmont North, GSU police chief Joe Spillane said. Nakia Roach was...
DOJ: Two metro Atlanta men convicted in $2.5 million fraud scheme
DOJ: Two metro Atlanta men convicted in $2.5 million fraud scheme

Two metro Atlanta men were convicted by a jury on federal charges on Thursday for their roles in an investment fraud scheme, the Department of Justice announced. Marc E. Bercoon, 57, of Atlanta, and William A. Goldstein, 54, of Alpharetta, were convicted on 12 counts of conspiracy, mail fraud, wire fraud and securities fraud in connection with the...
Woman denies setting Paulding fire: ‘I would never do anything to hurt anybody’
Woman denies setting Paulding fire: ‘I would never do anything to hurt anybody’

Just days after a woman was arrested for setting a massive fire in a Paulding County subdivision, she says she didn’t do it.  “I serve in my community ... I've been in nursing for 17 years,” Adrienne Satterly told WSB Radio. “I would never do anything to hurt anybody. That breaks my heart." Authorities charged Satterly...
One of Atlanta’s most wanted allegedly broke a blind woman’s jaw
One of Atlanta’s most wanted allegedly broke a blind woman’s jaw

A man who allegedly assaulted two women in northwest Atlanta last month has been added to the police department’s “most wanted” list. In one case, police say a blind woman’s jaw was broken. The other incident happened after Orlando Clark became angry when his ex-girlfriend “began receiving phone calls,&rdquo...
ADA: Gwinnett teacher charged with sex assault impregnated ex-student
ADA: Gwinnett teacher charged with sex assault impregnated ex-student

A former Gwinnett County band director who has been charged with 20 counts of sexual assault had a relationship with a student in North Carolina that resulted in a child, Assistant District Attorney Matt Acuff said Thursday. Villie Jones, 44, was denied bond after a Thursday hearing. The sexual assault charges, as well as one charge of child molestation...
More Stories