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Georgia Lawmaker Asks State Capitol to Recognize 'Confederate History Month'

The Republican representative says his resolution only aims to pay tribute to Southern heritage—but it doesn't mention slavery.

by Drew Schwartz
27 March 2017, 10:55pm

Photo via Flickr user jramspott

Republican Tommy Benton, a member of Georgia's House of Representatives, wants his fellow legislators to recognize "Confederate History Month" in April, the AP reports.

State law already recognizes April as "Confederate History and Heritage Month," but evidently that's not enough for Benton. The lawmaker—who once referred to the KKK as a "vigilante thing to keep law and order"—introduced a formal measure on Monday proposing the state capitol recognize the "four-year struggle for states rights" waged by the Confederacy—with no mention of slavery.

Black lawmakers argue the proposal would honor those on the wrong side of history and celebrate the days when slavery was legal. But Benton says his resolution only aims to pay tribute to Southern heritage.

"We just elected a president that said he was tired of political correctness. And so that was the reason that we were looking to introduce the resolution," the Republican told local NPR affiliate WABE. "We think that our heritage is just as important as everybody else's."

It's an argument we've heard before, and one that played out in national headlines back in 2015, when a number of Southern states decided to remove Confederate flags from their capitol grounds after the Charleston church shooting.

"This resolution is about hatred and racism," Representative Sandra Scott, vice chair of the Georgia Legislative Black Caucus, told the AP. "It is about glorifying a culture that found slavery acceptable."