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Georgia NAACP president visits Dalton

Joseph E. Johnston was a confederate general in the Civil War. Local and state NAACP chapters want it to be removed from public property. (Image: WTVC)

The president of the Georgia NAACP comes to Dalton after calling for a removal of all confederate symbols on public property.

Different Georgia chapters of the NAACP met Friday evening at the Shiloh Baptist Church in Dalton. This is the state's third quarterly meeting and the first ever meeting hosted in Dalton.

Phyllis Blake, President of the Georgia state chapter, spoke about her recent plea for removing confederate symbols.

"Take the monuments and perhaps take them to a museum on private properties," she said. "But don't slap us in our face with those generals who were responsible for slavery."

There is a confederate statue in downtown Dalton. Right on Hamilton street, sits a monument of Joseph E. Johnston. He was a confederate general during the Civil War.

Some Dalton residents say there is value to these monuments.

"Use the statue as a learning tool," says Dalton resident Ed McDonald. "Talk to your kids, talk to your friends. What does that mean?" McDonald says he doesn't condone the actions of the Confederacy during the Civil War, but he believes history, no matter how ugly, shouldn't be erased.

"They were wrong to try to break away," he said. "They were wrong to try to promote slavery, but it is what it is. It was part of our history. We have to live with it."

The local president of the NAACP says he, too, would like to see Johnston's statue go.

"A side that lost is still being glorified," said Antoine Simmons, Dalton's NAACP chapter president. "Not so much for the valor of the people that fought, but it's symbolizing an oppressive regime that wants to continue to stay in power."

NAACP leaders invited local government officials to attend Friday night's meeting. Mayor Dennis Mock and state senator Chuck Payne were there to welcome the chapters.

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