We just made a short visit to Stone Mountain, Georgia. It’s a beautiful park and an amazing rock. Unfortunately, this huge mountain of stone has been defaced with a sandblasted carving of three famous traitors in American history: Jefferson Davis, Robert Lee and “Stonewall” Jackson.
The defacement began in 1923, during the segregationist Jim Crow era, and was completed in 1972. It’s probably the largest middle finger ever given to Civil Rights.
My wife and I live in the South and try to understand the mindset of those who still think the War over Slavery was a “Northern Invasion.” In our effort to learn, we actually enjoy going to Civil War battlefields, museums and interpretive centers that tell the stories from both sides of the awful war.
Believe it or not, we’ve been to two homes of Jefferson Davis (the “white house” in Montgomery and Richmond) as well as his gravesite in Richmond. We have visited the homes of Lee and Jackson and walked through cemeteries full of confederate flags and headstones.
We’ve also gone to Antietam and Gettysburg, Fredericksburg and Manassus, Lookout Mountain and Chickamauga as well as the Lincoln Memorial. We visited restored slave quarters, Civil Rights museums, the “Lynching” Memorial and both the birthplace and gravesite of Martin Luther King.
We’ve been to where Rosa Parks and other women sat as they stood up to the inhumanity of segregation.
No doubt we’re unusual in our journey toward understanding. Our education is endless.
Here, I simply want to say that a wonderful thing happened while we were walking around Stone Mountain that day.
The rain began to pour in buckets as we were looking up at the immense rock and faces of defacement. Water began to stream down the side of the mountain, then more and more waterfalls, until the faces and horses of The Gray were washed clean by the greening rains gushing off the top.
Those images stay with me.
Nature is always Greater than the human capacity for violence, for war and injustice.