In 2022, Atlanta History Center released its first documentary film, Monument. This film shares the story of the Stone Mountain carving, the largest Confederate monument in the world. To engage educators, students, and families in this story, Atlanta History Center has produced classroom, civic engagement, and family resources for young people from upper elementary to high school. Through these resources, Atlanta History Center aims to facilitate conversations and provide a deeper understanding of how legislation, history, and memory shape our communities.
For years, Atlanta History Center staff have been involved with the history of the Stone Mountain carving. The institution worked with experts and those closest to the issue to explore the history of the Stone Mountain carving from various perspectives in creating the Monument documentary. The perspectives and subjects it addresses are important to foster critical thinking among younger audiences.
As communicated in its Guiding Principles, a core value of Atlanta History Center is to connect viewers and visitors of different perspectives to engage in thoughtful reflection and conversation on difficult topics. In an age-appropriate and engaging way, these classroom lesson plans, civic engagement resources, and interactive family webpage invite a broader audience to join the conversation.
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The Birth of a Nation’s success and wide distribution increased national interest in the post-Civil War Klan. In Atlanta, the film served as an inspiration and a guide for the leaders of two early 20th-century Atlanta organizations with close connections to Stone Mountain—the modern Ku Klux Klan and the United Daughters of the Confederacy.
John Temple Graves was a New South orator, newspaper editor, and political figure, known for his influence on racial issues in the late 19th and early 20th century. His newspaper, the Atlanta Georgian, played a significant role in inflaming racial tensions that led to the 1906 Atlanta Race Massacre. He was also one of the earliest proponents of carving the likeness of Robert E. Lee into the side of Stone Mountain as a memorial to the Confederacy.
How did the world’s largest Confederate monument end up outside of Atlanta? What should be done, if anything, with it? With these questions in mind, Atlanta History Center explores the controversial history through online resources and an upcoming documentary.