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'Save the Statue Peace Rally' set for Sunday at Covington Square
Local group opposed to Confederate monument's removal aims to educate public, raise money for legal expenses
Peaceful Rally
Women encircle the nearly 115-year-old "The Confederate Dead of Newton County" statue on the Covington Square during a "Save the Statue Peace Rally" in July 2020. - photo by Mason Wittner

COVINGTON, Ga. — Days before the case concerning the removal of Newton County’s removal of a nearly 115-year-old Confederate monument returns to court, a local group has planned to host another “Save the Statue Peace Rally.”

Bill Nash, a resident of Newton County, helped organize two similar rallies in July 2020 shortly after the Board of Commissioners voted 3-2 to remove the statue. He said this weekend’s rally, set for Sunday from 2-5 p.m. on the Covington Square, would be a way to further help bring awareness to the issue and raise money to fund legal expenses.

“We need to maintain and keep our history,” he said. “It’s important for our children and our country… We don’t need to get rid of history.”

Nash said the group was excited to welcome a special speaker named H.K. Edgerton, who would likely be on hand Sunday to speak about how "history got twisted.” Edgerton, a North Carolina native, was described online as an African-American activist for Southern heritage and member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans. He has reportedly attended several rallies in support of Confederate heritage and displaying the Confederate flag.

In addition to Edgerton’s appearance, there will be a silent auction and various T-shirts for sale. All proceeds would go directly to legal expenses, Nash said.

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.

Nash said the group intended to fight the decision to remove the statue for as long as necessary.

“We’ll go to the Supreme Court if we need to,” he said. “We’re just trying to make our elected leaders follow the law.”

The case is important not just for Newton County, but surrounding areas as well, Nash said. He believed it could set a precedent for similar cases soon to be tried across the state.

The Confederate monument that sets in the center of the town square was dedicated April 23, 1906. A little known fact about the statue, Nash said, is that a group of women within the county held a penny drive for 14 years to fund the statue, which they wanted to honor those who died in the war and the women who struggled as a result of their soldiers’ passing.

An inscription on one side of the monument states, “While this monument is erected in memory of Confederate soldiers and the sacred cause for which they contended, it is also intended to commemorate the noble women whose peerless patriotism and sublime lives of heroic and self-sacrificing service enhanced the holiness of that cause and prolonged the struggle for its supremacy, by inspiring its champions with increased ardor, enthusiasm and gallantry in their contest.” 

On another side: "No sordid or mercenary spirit animated the cause espoused by those to whom this monument is erected or inspired the men who bravely fought and the women who freely suffered for it. Its final failure could not dishonor it, nor did defeat estrange its devotees.”