City DopeNews

Athens’ Confederate Memorial Is Back Up in a New Spot

The Confederate monument keeps on truckin’. Credit: Lee Shearer

Athens’ Confederate monument is now erect in its new location on Timothy Place off Macon Highway, both visible and noticeable from the nearby Athens Perimeter.

The memorial’s carved marble portion is laced with small fractures, mainly toward the bottom where the names of Athens Confederate soldiers are etched. However, comparisons with photos taken prior to the monument’s removal from downtown show that the cracks were already there.

The Athens-Clarke County Commission voted to remove the monument from Broad Street in June 2020, in the wake of the national wave of anger and revulsion that followed the May 25 death of George Floyd, murdered by a Minneapolis police officer. One result was a national outcry against Confederate monuments, and many in Athens said it was time to go for the monument to soldiers who died defending slavery.

A state law prohibits moving or dismantling such monuments, but Athens officials justified the monument’s removal by saying it needed to be relocated for safety reasons, to protect the monument itself and to make way for a widened pedestrian crosswalk at the busy Broad Street-College Avenue intersection.

Workers took down the massive stacked stones about six weeks later in August 2020. The monument lay in a field near the Clarke County Jail until June, when workers began to reassemble it on Timothy Place, near Barber Creek, the site of Clarke County’s only Civil War skirmish.

Dedicated in 1872, the monument to Confederate dead had been a fixture in downtown Athens for nearly 150 years, at first near City Hall and later moved to the Broad Street median at College Square.