The proposal of a Confederate History Month proclamation sent Fayette County into a state of civil unrest.
On Tuesday afternoon, a group of protesters gathered to oppose the proclamation that, if passed, would honor those who were in support of Confederate practices.
Led by the Fayette Democratic Party, the scene rivaled a snapshot of the 1960s as protesters gathered around the fountain a mere 100 feet away from the Fayette County Commission Chamber.
The proclamation was to be handed out later in the evening, but it didn’t stop protesters from having their voice heard. Civil leaders, pastors, adults, and children alike took the microphone looking to insert their plea against the request.
The rally took the stance of unity as referenced by a stirring opening prayer by Rev. Augustus T. Curry of Cornerstone Baptist Church in Fayetteville. The prayer set the tone of the rally as 19 other prominent Fayette leaders recited speeches against the proclamation.
The list of speakers included Fayette Democratic Committee Chair Leonard Presberg, State House Representative Derrick Jackson, Morehouse student Jarred Sawyer, and NAACP Atlanta Branch president Richard Rose.
Each speaker broke down their displeasure for the proclamation and reasons why the Fayette County commissioners should vote against the request.
“Enough is enough,” Jackson said. “We have to make sure that our babies and grandbabies understand what we are going through 50 years from now.
“They are going to ask you what did you do and if you did your part.”
Other speakers agreed and outlined the changes they would like to see in the county. They clamored for an apology from the county commission and the ability to reconcile together against the actions of Confederate members.
“I think our county commission should be apologizing and setting up a proclamation where we start a reclamation process,” Chris Bauman said. “It doesn’t cure everything that happened, but it is a good first step. We may not see it today, but I hope we see it sooner than later.”
The rally included signs from citizens that displayed a similar message. People of all ethnicities wanted to represent a fight against injustice. Some of the emotional responses alerted the county commissioners that spoke before the meeting.
“This is the first time that anybody has expressed an interest in this proclamation,” Commissioner Eric Maxwell said. ”I have heard all the speakers, and it has got to have an impact.”
At the meeting, the group presenting the proclamation rescinded their request for Confederate History Month. It represented change that the protesters have wanted to see for a long time.
“The people of Fayette have an obligation for us to do what is right,” County Commissioner Charles Rousseau said.