From WXIA-TV / 11Alive News
STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. -- One Georgia man wants to see the largest carving of its kind blown off the face of one iconic state landmark.
"It's almost like a black eye or an embarrassing smudge on our culture," McCartney Forde told 11Alive News on Monday.
That's how Forde feels about the two football field-wide carving of Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Generals Robert E. Lee and "Stonewall" Jackson that towers 400 feet above the mountain's base.
He considers the continued honor an affront to those their government kept in slavery.
Forde has launched an online petition to gather support for his cause.
"My efforts aren't to just destroy something, 'cause I understand that does mean something to some people," he said.
"But there should be some room for compromise and there should be something up there that we all could be proud of," he added.
First proposed by Helen Plane, a charter member of the United Daughters of the Confederacy, the carving was begun in 1923, but not completely finished until 1972 thanks to several starts and stops.
In 1916 the mountain itself was also the birthplace of the modern Ku Klux Klan, who held cross burnings there into the 1980's.
Now owned by the people of Georgia, the mountain and surrounding park are overseen by a state agency and run by a private company.
"We should not erase history," Calvin Johnson, Jr. told 11Alive.
A member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, Johnson said all of our country's history should be preserved, good and bad.
Like previous campaigns criticizing other Confederate monuments, he sees the petition to remove the carving of Jefferson, Lee and Jackson as an attack on the truth.
"These guys (were) regarded very highly in the North and South after the War Between the States and it's only been the last 30 or 40 years that I think what you call revisionist history began in this country," Johnson added.
With only 35 signatures supporting his petition thus far, Forde admits the response to his drive to wipe Stone Mountain clean has been overwhelmingly negative.