On this day in 1964, sculptors began taking a third crack at the Confederate Memorial Carving on Stone Mountain, first proposed 50 years earlier by the United Daughters of the Confederacy.
Renowned sculptor Gutzon Borglum envisioned seven central figures leading an army of thousands. But World War I and funding problems delayed work. Artistic disagreements led to Borglum's firing in 1925, with only General Lee's head finished.
Sculptor Augustus Lukeman took over, blasted away the original work, and carved until money ran out in 1928. For 36 years, nothing happened. Then in 1954, the Supreme Court's landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education ruling segregated schools unconstitutional galvanized the white South. The Confederate memorial became a potent symbol of defiance and white supremacy.
The state of Georgia bought the mountain in 1958. Governor Marvin Griffin supported finishing the memorial, now reduced to Lee, Jefferson Davis, and Stonewall Jackson. Completed in 1970, it remains one of the most prominent memorials to the lost cause in Georgia, a cause renewed on September 12, 1964, Today in Georgia History.
Today in Georgia History is a joint collaboration of the Georgia Historical Society & Georgia Public Broadcasting.