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Stone Mountain Georgia Finally gets a Street in Honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive Stone Mountain Georgia

For Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the City of Stone Mountain conducted a Freedom March & Honorary Street Renaming Celebration. The street that was once E. Mountain Street is now named Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive in honor of the Great Civil Rights Activist.

The Mayor of Stone Mountain, Beverly Jones unveiled the new sign along with several Commissioners such as Lorraine Cochran-Johnson, Steve Bradshaw, CEO of Dekalb Michael L. Thurmond, Bishop Eric Cannady, Rev. Orsa Parker, Rev. Canty, Community Activist Shar Bates, NAACP VP Gerald Griggs, and others.

MLK at the Lincoln Memorial
MLK at the Lincoln Memorial Photo by Wes Candela

King included Stone Mountain in his “I Have a Dream” speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963. “Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia,” he said.

On August 28, 1963, more than a quarter million people participated in the historic March on Washing for Jobs and Freedom, gathering near the Lincoln Memorial. More than 260,000 people from across the nation came to Washington in outrage over the nation's racial inequities. Leader A. Phillip Randolph and Ray Wilkins, Executive Secretary of the NAACP spearheaded the march which led to a collaborative effort among other civil rights groups which included MLK.

The city of Stone Mountain has a controversial history that begins in the early 1800s when indigenous tribes that inhabited Stone Mountain were killed by diseases that were brought by European settlers. According to the New Georgia Encyclopedia " The 1821 Treaty of Indian Springs, which ceded land east of the Flint River, expelled native peoples while opening the land for settlement by European Americans. By the late 1820s, whites had settled the base of the granite mass, and the town was officially named Stone Mountain in 1847."

In 1914, Helen Plane, a Georgia United Daughters of the Confederacy leader rallied behind the proposed idea of creating a bust of Robert E. Lee being carved on Stone Mountain. In 1915, 16 members are initiated into the KKK to revive its organization on top of the mountain. By 1916, the Stone Mountain Confederate Monument Association is incorporated and begins the carving and unveiled in 1924.

For more on the history of Stone Mountain visit the SPLC Website.

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