Roy E. Barnes (John Disney/Daily Report)
Barnes is proud of his push to remove the Confederate symbol from the Georgia state flag and never mentions that it cost him a second term as governor.
“The removal of the Confederate banner from Georgia’s flag in 2001 was not only the right thing to do, it saved Georgia from having its official state symbol being the same as that which incited Dylann Roof on his rampage through a church killing nine African-American worshippers,” Barnes wrote of the Charleston massacre in 2015.
Still, he does not agree with the recent call to remove the memorial to Civil War leaders carved on the side of Stone Mountain. Without naming anyone, Barnes takes a different view from another lawyer currently running for governor, Stacey Abrams. (Barnes has endorsed her opponent for the Democratic nomination, Marietta lawyer Stacey Evans.)
Barnes makes a distinction between symbols of the state government and reminders of history, but he calls for balance and truth in those reminders.
“What I have always wondered when I saw those Confederate statues on the courthouse grounds is where is the memorial to those held in bondage?” Barnes writes. “If in fact, the memorials are to a part of our history, shouldn’t history be told in full and not in part? The carvings of Lee, Davis and Jackson shouldn’t be blown off the side of Stone Mountain, but there should be a telling of the story in truthful terms and not the mythical terms of Gone With The Wind. Truth is truth and only the complete history should be told. We should examine each of the memorials and street names in this context. For example, Confederate Avenue in Atlanta running in front of the State Patrol in my mind should be changed. It sends the wrong message that the police power of the state is located on a street associated with slavery and suppression.”
To read more of what the former governor has to say about how to “heal the wounds of a war that should have been over a long time ago,” go to the Barnes Law Group Facebook page.