COVINGTON, Ga. — A swarm of spectators gathered on the Covington Square on Sunday afternoon for a “Save the Statue Peace Rally” ahead of this this week's appeal hearing.
Bill Nash, a resident of Newton County, helped organize the event. Nash put together a series of similar rallies last July to raise awareness about the proposed removal of the 115-year-old Confederate monument and to raise funds for legal fees.
After Alcovy Superior Court Chief Judge John Ott dismissed injunctions Sept. 14, 2020, filed against the statue’s removal, resident Tiffany Humphries and local and state Sons of Confederate Veterans groups filed for appeals to the judge’s decision. The case is on docket to be heard Tuesday, April 13, in the Georgia Court of Appeals.
According to Nash, Sunday’s rally served the same primary purpose as the events he orchestrated last summer: promoting awareness and raising funds for legal defense.
“Our county tax dollars are being spent to try to take a monument down that people don’t want down,” Nash said. “And for people to not get involved in today’s politics, and to let politicians overrun state law, is wrong. If somebody doesn’t stop them then we’re all doomed.”
Among guest speakers at the event was activist H.K. Edgerton. Described as a historian, Edgerton is a Black member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and former president of the Asheville, North Carolina, chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).
He spoke to the crowd at length, dispelling common criticisms of the Confederate army and the Confederate battle flag as being symbols of hatred toward the Black community. He also shared stories of several Black members of the Confederacy and told spectators that Covington’s statue honored Black Confederate soldiers as well as white soldiers.
"He's a powerful speaker," Nash said of Edgerton, "and he gives it from a different perspective."