The Ku Klux Klan is scheduled to hold a protest in November at the Georgia site of a proposed Martin Luther King Jr. memorial that is set to be located near what is considered the country's largest Confederate Civil War memorial. The “Freedom Bell” would be engraved with King’s “I Have a Dream” speech and be located above the Stone Mountain Park Confederate Memorial Carving, engraved with images of Confederate figures such as Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The KKK, which was planning the protest along with some pro-Confederate groups, have used the Confederate memorial in the past to hold cross burnings and other rituals. KKK rallies at the site have been officially banned since the 1950s. Other groups involved in the protests are reported to be the Sons of Confederate Veterans and the League of the South.
The bell is supposed to be a symbol of racial reconciliation, and King mentioned Stone Mountain in his 1963 speech from the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., CBS News reported. “Let freedom ring from the Stone Mountain of Georgia,” King said in his speech.
“Please stand with us against the traitors who wish to tarnish our Ancestors Heritage by placing a Monument celebrating Martin L. King on Stone Mountain. MLK has no relevance to our Southern Heritage where our beloved 13 States were forced to fight the Northern Aggressors that attacked us,” a group called “Defend Stone Mountain” wrote on its Facebook page, which lists a protest scheduled for Nov. 14.
The plan to have a Martin Luther King Jr. memorial atop the mountain has also been opposed by leaders of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, a group King helped found.
"We want to eradicate it. We want to blast it. We want to paint over it. Whatever it takes, that's what we want to do," Charles Steele Jr., who leads the conference, said of the Confederate memorial according to CBS News.
— Forward Progressives (@ForwardProgs) October 12, 2015
The group that maintains the mountain, the Stone Mountain Memorial Association, said earlier in October the addition of the King monument would help tell a more complete history of the mountain. The Stone Mountain community is predominantly African-American, CNN reported.