Democratic gubernatorial candidate Abrams calls for removal of Confederate faces off Stone Mountain in Georgia

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Abrams calls for removal of Confederate faces off Stone Mountain in Georgia, by Greg Bluestein.

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams called for the removal of the giant carving that depicts three Confederate war leaders on the face of state-owned Stone Mountain, saying it “remains a blight on our state and should be removed.”

“We must never celebrate those who defended slavery and tried to destroy the union,” Abrams said in a series of tweets posted early Tuesday, a response to the deadly violence sparked by white supremacist groups in Charlottesville, Va.

Removing the faces of Jefferson Davis, Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson would take a monster of a sandblaster and require a change in state law. The Georgia code has a clear mandate for the memorial, saying it should be “preserved and protected for all time as a tribute to the bravery and heroism of the citizens of this state who suffered and died in their cause.”

Lawmakers and civil rights groups have called for the removal of Confederate symbols at the memorial for years. After the 2015 shooting deaths of nine black worshipers by a white supremacist in Charleston, several legislators pushed for a boycott until Rebel flags at the site come down.