Fayette County confederate holiday proclamation canceled


After more than two hours of debate through public comment and a two hour rally, a proclamation to make April Confederate History and Heritage Month in Fayette County was pulled before it made it to vote. It happened Tuesday evening at the Fayette County Board of Commissioners meeting.

The proclamation, brought by the Sons of Confederate Veterans, would have also made April 26th Confederate Memorial Day.

Attorney Wayne Kendall along with the Fayette County planned a rally protesting the Confederate commemoration plans. Dozens of people showed up with signs and gave impassioned speeches and testimonies ahead of the meeting.

James Bearden drove more than an hour to Fayetteville, to wear his Confederate uniform to the event, even though he doesn't live in the county.

During CBS46's interview with him, he was confronted by a woman and man who were opposed to the measure. The two parties had a heated exchange. The woman was brought to tears, explaining how seeing the confederate uniform and flag bring back haunting memories.

Fayette County Commissioner Charles Oddo said he was disheartened by the rally and pushback. He told CBS46 he had no idea the confederate proclamation would be a problem.

"This came up after five years of doing the same proclamation without any incident," Oddo said. "I was blown away that there were any issues. There are other things that are going on in the rest of the country, but this is Fayette County. I would've appreciated a call to say, "hey, we've got a problem with this and want to discuss it,' before we got to this point," Oddo went on.

One attendee, Edward Ahmed Mitchell, a civil rights attorney, said he wishes the commissioners would have been able to vote.

"I wish you had the chance to come before us tonight and say, 'I oppose this proclamation,' not because it makes people feel bad, not because it would make us lose jobs, but because it is wrong," Mitchell said.

The only dissenting commissioner, Charles Rousseau didn't agree that county government should be promoting the month

Ultimately the petitioner who leads the Georgia division of The Sons of Confederate Veterans left the meeting upset, saying he didn't intend for it to be this way. The group pulled the proclamation so even the commissioners who would have voted on it, didn't get the chance to.

Now residents are asking commissioners to change the procedures for how proclamations get on the agenda in the first place.

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