A Georgia pro-Confederate group was so angry about a proposal to honor the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. at the state's Stone Mountain Civil War memorial that they misstated the name of the civil rights giant.
The state chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans issued a statement Monday threatening legal action to prevent King from being honored atop stone carvings of Confederate heroes Gen. Robert E. Lee, President Jefferson Davis, and Gen. Stonewall Jackson at the site of the rebirth 100 years ago of the Ku Klux Klan.
The Stone Mountain Memorial Association, with Republican Gov. Nathan Deal's approval, plans to build a tower with a replica Liberty Bell to celebrate King's reference to the memorial in his famous "I Have A Dream" speech -- when he called to "let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia."
The pro-Confederate group said the proposal violates a Georgia law setting aside the state-owned park as a memorial to the Confederate States of America.
“The erection of monuments to anyone other than Confederate heroes in Stone Mountain Park is in contradistinction to the purpose for which the park exists and would make it a memorial to something different,” the chapter said in its statement.
“Monuments to either Michael King or soldiers of any color who fought against the Confederacy would be a violation of the purpose for which the park was created and exists,” the group added, misidentifying one of the most famous Americans in history.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans argued that it would be racist against white southerners to honor King or other black Americans at the memorial.
“The erection of a monument to anything other than the Confederate Cause being placed on top of Stone Mountain because of the objections of opponents of Georgia’s Confederate heritage would be akin to the state flying a Confederate battle flag atop the King Center in Atlanta against the wishes of King supporters," the group said.
“Both would be altogether inappropriate and disrespectful acts, repugnant to Christian people," the group added.
The "Confederate Cause," as explicitly laid out in Georgia's declaration of secession, was the continued "the subordination and the political and social inequality of the African race" in the face of the abolitionist Republican Party's political triumphs.
"Their avowed purpose is to subvert our society and subject us not only to the loss of our property but the destruction of ourselves, our wives, and our children, and the desolation of our homes, our altars, and our firesides," argues the declaration of secession.
Georgia Supreme Court Justice Henry Benning made the same claim in plainer, but no less melodramatic, terms as he urged Virginia to also leave the Union to preserve slavery or face a race war.
“The consequence will be that our men will be all exterminated or expelled to wander as vagabonds over a hostile earth, and as for our women, their fate will be too horrible to contemplate even in fancy," argued Benning -- who fought as a Confederate general in the Civil War and today is honored as the namesake of Fort Benning, Georgia.
Confederate flags and other memorials to the preservation of slavery have been removed or altered after a white supremacist and avowed neo-Confederate gunned down nine black churchgoers in South Carolina.
Racist southerners, emboldened by D.W. Griffiths' 1915 film "Birth of a Nation" and the lynching that summer of Jewish factory manager Leo Frank, met 100 years ago next month at Stone Mountain to re-establish the Ku Klux Klan.
The racist group raised money to build the monument, and the land was sold to the state in 1958.
Confederate supporters frequently claim they're not racist, and their flag displays are meant as a show of "heritage, not hate," but comments left on the group's Facebook post about the King memorial offer conflicting evidence.
"Aren't they satisfied with the worst street in every town being named after him?" complains Matthew Johnson.
Another Facebook fan directs readers to a web page set up to smear King's reputation.
"All you people who try to validate Marchin' Lootin' King, please go to this website (caution, King's vulgar language is quoted)," writes Fred Chitwood.
A third Facebook supporter made some vague threats of racist violence toward black Americans and their non-racist allies.
"They just can't let things go, can they?" complained Michael Costner. "If approved, how long until a mass of people topple that thing over the side? They think they're going to erase or rewrite history by doing these things, when in fact, they're about to relive history."
Watch this video report posted online by WSB-TV: