city of Augusta, the city commission and the former mayor have
responded as required by law to the suit filed against them by the
Georgia Heritage Council and others on behalf of the people of
In their pleading, the city denies
responsibility under Georgia law for removing flags and memorial
markers from a public city sponsored park, the Riverwalk, on the
basis that the part of the park from which the flags and memorial
markers were removed was not a military memorial, but a 'flag
They also requested a jury trial.
Noting the city response, Woody Highsmith, GHC
director in Augusta, said, "It is mystifying that the city now
wants a public jury to undertake the work the city should have
considered a long time ago. I specifically refer to the fact that
former Mayor Young removed the flags and markers unilaterally
without consulting the commission or the public."
Former Mayor Young nor any of the commission
members have denied the unannounced removal of the 2nd National
Confederate flag, known as the Stainless Banner, and obscuring the
Likewise, they have not denied consensus press
reports that the removals were done at the request of the South
Carolina NAACP which held a convention in Augusta shortly after
In their joint pleading before the court, the
former mayor and all commissioners claim the flags and memorials
removed had no military significance and were not located in a
section dedicated to military heroes, but rather in a flag
terrace. The flag terrace still remains absent the 2nd National
Confederate flags and markers.
"We tried every way we knew to communicate and
work out a solution to have the flags and memorials returned to
avoid a lawsuit. I personally wrote the mayor and each of the
commissioners requesting suggestions for a suitable resolution of
the situation. Not one responded," said Jeff Davis, GHC Chairman.
"This is a situation that could have been more
successfully handled as we have done in similar cases elsewhere.
It seems to me that the cooperation extended to the South Carolina
NAACP has been denied the citizens of Georgia. Now the taxpayers
of Augusta and Richmond County are socked with not only the
expense of a potentially long and protracted lawsuit, but also the
label as an 'anti-Southern' and 'anti-heritage' city. I don't
think this is fair to the people of Augusta and Richmond County.
That area has great history and heritage. It's a shame that
pandering politicians want to destroy it," Davis said.
Former Mayor Young is now serving as the
Regional Director of Housing and Urban Development in Atlanta. He
was appointed to the position by President Bush after being
endorsed by Governor Sonny Perdue.
Realizing the importance of this court test of
the Georgia statues regarding desecration of any military
memorials, Mr. Highsmith said, "We're in a fight for everything we
hold dear in this case. We need the help of everyone who believes
in the common sense of stopping pressure groups and public
politicians from taking away every last vestige of our history and
our culture. This case is a culture war, pure and simple. Please
help us by sending whatever you can. Even one dollar."
For further information, contact:
Jeff Davis, Chairman, GHC, Gainesville, Ga. Telephone 770 297-4788
Woody Highsmith, Director, GHC, Augusta, Ga. Telephone 706
How to help:
Please mail your
contributions payable to
"Steve Boynton Flag Defense Fund" to:
C/O Woody Highsmith, P.O. BOX 581, Evans, Georgia 30809
CLICK HERE to donate through PayPal at GHC. Please notate in
the PAYPAL "Message" field that the funds are for the "RIVERWALK"
and those donations will be forwarded promptly to Woody
Highsmith in Augusta.
Please do it
now. Your help and support got us this far, we need more folks to
join in now that the battle is engaged.
J. A. Davis is a retired radio and television
journalist living in Gainesville, Georgia. He is volunteer
Chairman of the Georgia Heritage Council.
Related Press Releases
Legal Action filed against Augusta City Council and Mayor - Press
Release July 11, 2005