Why Have People Gone to Stone Mountain?

View of crowd at the unveiling ceremony of Robert E. Lee’s head, 1928

View of crowd at the unveiling ceremony of the carving of Robert E. Lee’s head, 1928. Kenneth Rogers photographs, VIS.82.136.01, Kenan Research Center at Atlanta History Center 

What kinds of parks are in your community, state, or country?

Have you ever spent time in a park? Maybe you have played in a neighborhood park or taken a road trip to visit a national park.  What did the park look like? What kinds of things were there to do?  

Parks are all around us, from short nature trails to large, mountainous landscapes. There are large national parks across the United States for people to visit and appreciate nature. Some parks have nature trails for hikers, naturally created “swimming holes,” and even gardens where you can learn how to care for different kinds of plants. Most importantly, national parks are meant to preserve and protect wildlife and the naturally created landscapes within them.  

Along with protecting wildlife and landscapes, parks also serve as public spaces open to everyone, regardless of background. Ideally, a park should provide a welcoming atmosphere for visitors of all ages, ethnicities, genders, and religions. Stone Mountain Park is owned by the State of Georgia. As you saw in the film, the Confederate Monument carved into the side of the mountain makes some people feel unsafe, uncomfortable, or angry.  

Before visiting local parks, it is important to research what the park offers and if you would feel comfortable there. There are lots of places to get started if you’re not sure where your closest park is. You can find books on green spaces and parks in your state at a local library, or you can utilize any of the websites linked below! 

What has Stone Mountain been used for?

Stone Mountain Park is a popular park and natural site within the state of Georgia. With estimates that the granite mountain has been exposed for nearly 15 million years, it can be inferred, or believed from the information known, that Georgia residents and visitors have enjoyed its beauty for hundreds of years.  Today, Stone Mountain Park offers attractions for all ages. The park has numerous activities, including a “Summit Skyride” that sends visitors to the top of the mountain and a “Scenic Railroad” that carries passengers around the park.  

Though Stone Mountain currently has multiple exciting attractions, the park has not always been a welcoming and comforting place for all visitors. As mentioned in Monument, Stone Mountain’s historic connection with the Ku Klux Klan has made African Americans and other minority visitors feel unsafe while there.  Although there are fun, family-friendly things to do at the park, Stone Mountain also carries a difficult and complicated history.