Since 1932, in front of the Atlanta Capitol building, stood a statue of Thomas Watson. The statue is inscribed, saying that Watson is a “champion of right who never faltered in the cause.” Thomas Watson was a white U.S. Senator in the late 1800’s. During that time, he campaigned through the Populist Party for the poor people, including farmers, both black and white. Watson gained the black vote during that period, lobbying on behalf of the sharecroppers. But by 1900, Watson declared his place in white supremacist views. The U.S. Senator was open about being anti-Semitic and anti-Catholic. Watson openly called blacks “inferior” and compared them to apes.
Last Friday, Watson’s statue was removed from the Capitol building, to be moved across the street to the park. Protests began from Southern conservative groups. Ironically, the capitol was closed in observance of Robert E. Lee’s birthday.
The move was approved by Atlanta Governor Nathan Deal, who says the move is for safety reasons; the steps of the capitol are deteriorating and there are plans to deteriorate.