Monument: The Untold Story of Stone Mountain

Atlanta History Center explores the controversial history of the Stone Mountain carving through a documentary film and online resources.

Monument: The Untold Story of Stone Mountain

The carving on the side of Stone Mountain is the largest Confederate monument in the world.

The mountain is engraved with a sculpture of well-known people from the Confederacy: Jefferson Davis, president of the Confederate states, and generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. Many Georgians recognize the Stone Mountain carving, but few know the full story of its origin. 

The effort to create a Confederate monument on Stone Mountain began in the 1910s. Yet, the monument was only completed in 1972. Spanning multiple efforts across more than 50 years, the carving’s history is full of twists and turns. 

Today, the mountain and surrounding park remain a large tourist and recreational attraction featuring hiking trails, restaurants, campgrounds, a museum, and occasionally a laser show with the carving as the backdrop. 

Atlanta History Center staff have been engaged with the history of the Stone Mountain carving for many years. Over the past year, the institution worked with experts and those closest to the issue to explore the history of the Stone Mountain carving from various perspectives for a documentary. The result of this work is Monument, a documentary film that delves into the controversial history of Stone Mountain, including the origin of the carving and the complicated relationships between historical events and key players who established the monument.

This documentary is designed to inspire deeper learning and conversation about history that we as a state, and a country, share.

The Laws

Related. Stories.

Timeline

Stone Mountain & Civil Rights timeline
Stone Mountain & Civil Rights timeline
Stone Mountain & Civil Rights timeline
Stone Mountain & Civil Rights timeline
Stone Mountain & Civil Rights timeline
Stone Mountain & Civil Rights timeline

Archival. Images.

View of carving and Stone Mountain Park grounds, 1928

View of carving and Stone Mountain Park grounds, 1928. Atlanta History Photograph Collection, VIS.170.4471.001, Kenan Research Center at Atlanta History Center 

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 

Robert Edward Lee IV, Robert E. Lee’s great-grandson, at the Stone Mountain unveiling ceremony, 1928

Robert Edward Lee IV, Robert E. Lee’s great-grandson, at the Stone Mountain unveiling ceremony, 1928. Kenneth Rogers photographs, VIS.82.136.15, Kenan Research Center at Atlanta History Center

Postcard from DeKalb County of early model of the Stone Mountain carving, undated

Postcard from DeKalb County of early model of the Stone Mountain carving, undated. Kenan Research Center at Atlanta History Center

View of the modern-day carving at Stone Mountain in progress, undated

View of the modern-day carving at Stone Mountain in progress, undated.  Kenan Research Center at Atlanta History Center

FAQ

Confederate Monument Interpretation Guide

In 2016, Atlanta History Center published the first iteration of this online toolkit, which was designed to help communities address Confederate monuments in their midst. Included in these resources is a white paper on the history of Stone Mountain published in 2017.

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