The âConfederate Monumentâ in Covington Square was not built as a Confederation monument, it was rather a 100% memorial to the Confederate dead. It’s basically a gravestone.
It is absolutely the most magnificent piece of public art in Covington – Newton County Ga. And has been for over 115 years.
At the end of the brutal civil war, scores of young Georgian men lay dead in graves scattered among the battlefields, hospitals and POW camps in the south and north. Around 1892, after the end of the Civil War, the Ladies of Newton County began erecting a memorial to the local war dead, their husbands and sons, who never returned from the war. So that those who died in the war would not be forgotten, they decided to build a memorial in their honor. These women launched a fundraising effort that involved a “Penny Drive” to fund the monument, raising money for 14 years in Covington Square and other events to raise funds. Sufficient funds were raised to commission a monument to be constructed and erected at the all-important Newton County location – which was the Great Town Square of Covington.
The leaders of Newton County and the Town of Covington Ga. Were fully involved in the citizens’ demand for the monument to be placed and were WILLING TO DONATE THE SITE in the plaza where the monument has stood for 115 years. Today, neither the County of Newton nor the Town of Covington hold any documents showing their ownership of the monument in any way. When the county allowed the monument to be placed in the center of the public square, they also offered the land under the monument and the right to remain there. They do not own the 6ft by 6ft plot of land under the monument, it was donated to the monument at this time in 1906, this fact has been proven in several cases of monument removal in the South. The monument was donated to the citizens of Newton County and to the descendants of those who lost their lives in the war. Inscribed on the monument is a declaration “should no woman endure the hardships” they have endured in running their farms and raising their families without their men helping them at home. The 6ft x 6ft parcel of land under the monument belongs to the monument and all citizens of Newton County.
We must ALL TOGETHER to urge the county commissioners to CANCEL THEIR VOTE to remove the monument from the plaza, NOT TO BREACH STATE LAW 50-3-1, which would be a flagrant violation of the oath of office which ‘they lent themselves not to violate the state and local authorities. laws. If the monument is removed, each (both current and past Commissioners) who voted to remove it, will be prosecuted individually, as the sovereign immunity of the government. employees expired on January 1, 2021. They will be fully responsible for their own legal fees.
Another more sensible option? Don’t tear down a monument, add one! County commissioners should make plans to erect a new monument in the square, not remove the one already there. This new monument should not be paid for with taxpayers’ money, but only through private donations. Who or what should the new monument represent? How about a prominent local citizen who fought for civil rights in Newton County?
But who? I did their homework for them!
Forrest “Preacher” Sawyer, Sr. – a key local figure and involvement in the civil rights marches of the 1960s and 1970s, a time when black people marched for equality in the Newton County school system as well as in a a number of other places in the county. He led student protests for equality. He was a founding member of the Newton County Voters League and an active member of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) and the Washington Street Community Center. He was also elected a member of Covington City Council.
An excellent choice!
Like the State of the New Downtown Mural and other local tourist signs: Progressive and Historic Covington – Newton County. The county and town encourage tourism and film making because of our local heritage and history, while trying to suppress the very history they promote! Very hypocritical actions of local elected officials. The majority of downtown businesses do not want the monument removed, as do a majority of local citizens. Are these elected officials listening to voters or are they acting on the agenda of those who are pulling the strings of their puppet?
The removal of a monument honoring veterans who never returned to Newton County after the Civil War is an insult to those who fought in that war and to all local citizens past and present. The commissioners voted for its deletion, without any reason given at the time of the vote.
14 days later, on the advice of their legal counsel, they said they had threats that the monument would be damaged or demolished. Several registration requests open to local government. to investigate all emails, letters, 911 calls, etc., produced ZERO EVIDENCE of any actual threat to the monument. County leaders lied to cover up their vote. Their vote was based on actions in Rockdale and Henry counties where their monuments were removed quickly overnight, and those counties violated Ga’s 50-3-1 law. Newton’s commissioners also attempted to remove quickly and already had several offers and even a contract to withdraw, before the topic of the removal of monuments entered the “official record” of the Newton County Board of Commissioners. It was a pre-planned and orchestrated racially motivated assault on local history and the heritage of the South. When the commissioners who did not want the monument removed suggested adding a new monument to the square, they refused to consider that option.
Local elected leaders should listen to the concerns of their constituents, not the special interest agenda that campaign donors want. These leaders work for the citizens of Newton County, and they have made this highly questionable political decision (with just 4 votes) to remove a 115-year-old monument without proper representation of the contribution of all citizens. Their vote to remove the monument, receiving bids and contracts long before the subject or vote happened, and the devious acts the Commission Chairman used in his plan to remove at night as the The case was still on appeal, prove that the entire agenda of these local elected officials is corrupt. The local judge had to stop the removal again, even though his previous ruling had ended all removal action. The BOC president planned to break the law AND the judge’s original order. Fortunately, the judge issues an additional protection order not to remove the monument. Sadly, these are elected leaders, voting openly and planning to break Ga’s law, and feeling no remorse in their actions.
Where do we go from here?
Get involved in this fight to save the monument!
The case is on appeal in state courts. Contact Newton County Commissioners and demand they reverse their removal vote, demand they drop their removal program, stop using taxpayer money to try to break Law 50-3-1 of Ga.
Point out that a monument in honor of local civil rights activist Forrest “Preacher” Sawyer, Sr. – a key figure and involvement in the 1960s and 1970s would be a better idea than removing a monument from those who are. died during the civil war. Stop the racist agenda and be a true leader in our community for all citizens.
Marcello Banes president – 404-805-5094
Quartier Stan Edwards 1 – 678-294-9166
T. Demond Mason Ward 2 – 678-544-5212
Alana Sanders Ward 3 – 706-819-0357
JC Henderson District 4 – 770-896-3826
Ronnie Cowan Ward 5 – 678-313-4607
Local business owner, Newton County taxpayer for 40 years and concerned citizen