Georgia Civil War Commission
Quarterly Meeting Minutes
Sunday, December 3, 2017
Chairman John Culpepper called the meeting to order at 2:00 on December 3, 2017 at JHenry’s in Griffin, Georgia. Commissioners present were John Culpepper, Kelly Barrow, Karen Ledford, Brain Wills, James Yancey, Curt Collier, Inger Eberhart, John Carroll, Edward Shelor. Commissioners not present were Ken Griffiths, Charlie Lott, and Rusty Henderson. Cassie Barrow, Chief of Staff, was present. Members of the audience consisted of Sam Stacy, John McIntosh Kell SCV #107; Ed and Sue Reynolds; Joyce Nolin, CSRA League of Women Voters; Denice Traira, CSRA Peace Alliance; Ayman Fadel, CSRA Peace Alliance; Mike Dodd, Pvt. John Ingraham SCV; Wendell Lindsey; Kenneth Ledford; and Mary Yancey.
Chairman Culpepper discussed the reason the meeting was being held in a restaurant was due to the SEC Championship Football Game, in which University of Georgia was part of, caused a complication in achieving a quorum. Sunday is difficult to find meeting places available, especially with such a short notice. Next, Chairman Culpepper explained how the Commission was created by the state law and Senate Resolution that gives the mission statement. The Governor, Lt. Governor, and Speaker of the House appoints five Commissioners to serve an allotted time.
Chairman Culpepper sent an announcement of the meeting to the local newspaper to publish in the notices, as well as the announcement was posted on social media and at the location. This complies with the Sunshine Law.
Commissioner Barrow opened the meeting in prayer. Since JHenry’s had not placed the United States or Georgia flag into the room as requested, the pledges were dispensed.
A quorum was established by Chairman Culpepper, allowing for the meeting to be considered legal.
Chairman Culpepper requested for each of the Commissioners present to introduce themselves. Following this, the members of the audience were asked to introduce themselves and the group he/she was representing.
Chairman Culpepper requested a motion to approve the agenda. Commissioner Barrow made the motion to approve the agenda as printed and Commissioner Carroll seconded; motion carried. Agenda is attached to the minutes.
Chairman Culpepper reminded everyone the minutes from the August Quarterly Meeting were emailed to each Commissioner for review prior to this meeting. Clerical changes were sent to Chief of Staff Barrow and made prior to the meeting. Commissioner Barrow made a motion to accept the minutes with clerical errors corrected; Commissioner Ledford seconded. Motion passed.
2017-18 financial report was read by Chief of Staff Barrow. Chairman Culpepper explained that the Commission only has $25,000 a fiscal year. Also, it was discussed that Commissioner Eberhart and Chief of Staff Barrow went on a work retreat at Vogel State Park near Blairsville, which is reflected in the report. Treasurer Report attached to minutes.
At this time, Chairman Culpepper asked if anyone in the audience had anything they would like to bring before the Commission that was not on the agenda. Mr. Ayman Fadel with the CSRA Peace Alliance asked to speak about Georgia State Code 50-3-1. Chairman Culpepper requested that since it was on the agenda that Mr. Fadel wait. No other business was brought before the Commission.
Under Old Business: First under Old Business was the Commission Art and Essay Contests. Chairman Culpepper recognized Chief of Staff Barrow to give the Commissioners a status of this project. Chief of Staff Barrow gave an overview of both the art and essay contests for the guests and displayed the greeting cards from last year’s winners. Afterwards, she informed the Commissioners that Commissioner Eberhart and she were working hard to get the word to as many teachers and students. It appears that there will be a higher number of artwork as compared to last year, particularly because of increasing the contest through 12th grade. At the next Quarterly Meeting, the Commissioners will vote on the finalist from all four categories of the Art Contest, and the Education Committee will present the slate of essay winners for the Commissioner’s approval.
Chairman Culpepper recognized Commissioner Eberhart to discuss the Commission sponsored field trips. Commissioner Eberhart stated that the skeleton of the idea that the Education Committee used came from the Civil War Trust. Every Commissioner received an email with the recommended FAQs and details that would be distributed to teachers throughout Georgia. This program is a reimbursement program, with no money given prior to the field trip. Guidelines must be meet for the reimbursement, like receipts, pictures, and thank you notes being sent to the Chief of Staff. This would be open to all K-12 schools, public, private, and homeschool. There is a minimum of 10 students required to qualify for this program. Each application is only able to receive $250 max to visit Civil War museums and places, but the program is not to exceed $1,000 in a fiscal year. Discussion ensued about the fact a teacher cannot apply again, but that was clarified in a fiscal year. Therefore, a teacher may only apply for one funding in that fiscal year but may apply for another in the following year. A motion to put into effect the Field Trip Sponsorship Program, as outlined by the Education Committee, with a maximum to allocated for a fiscal year to be $1,000, and a max per applicant to be $250 was made by Commissioner Wills and seconded by Commissioner Eberhart. Commission passed the motion unanimously.
Chairman Culpepper gave a report on the interpretative marker about Union General Sherman being in Walker County, Georgia, which was approved previously by the Commission. The text is an article written by Lee White, a park ranger at Chattanooga/ Chickamauga National Battlefield, who gave the Commission permission to use. Chairman Culpepper was waiting for the formatting to be completed before moving forward. Commissioner Barrow was asked to give a report on the James S. Boynton, James Hughes, and the Georgia Military Institute interpretative signs. Per Commissioner Barrow, the signs have been sent to Chief of Staff Barrow for final editing, who will send them to Mr. Dodd for formatting. It was explained by Chairman Culpepper that the signs were National Parks standard and the Commission has placed numerous over the years to tell the more about Georgia’s obscure history.
Chairman Culpepper asked Commissioner Eberhart and Chief of Staff Barrow to give an update on the Quarterly Newsletter and Annual Report for the Commissioners to review. Chief of Staff Barrow stated that the Annual Report was printed and being mailed in a package to the Georgia Legislatures. As asked by the Commissioners in the previous meeting, she is including the greeting cards with the art work from the previous year’s art contest winners. Commissioner Eberhart challenged each Commissioner to have a project that would be completed in the 2018 fiscal year that could be included in the report next year. Her goal is to showcase the project and Commissioner. Chairman Culpepper stated that during the 2018 legislative session, it would be important for the Commission to have a presence at the Capitol. He, along with Chief of Staff Barrow, would frequent the Capitol starting in January.
The next item on the agenda Chairman Culpepper addressed the Commission and audience. He stated that the Chief of Staff Barrow had been placed as the point person for the Dekalb and Atlanta research projects. She had helped research the Dekalb monument through the old annals of the Confederate Veteran Magazine, as well as other venues, in hopes to determine who owned the monument. When Chief of Staff reported to Dekalb County’s attorney, she did not make a recommendation, but stated that she could find no information that stated the any organization owned it. For the Atlanta monuments, Chief of Staff Barrow offered various primary sources on the different monuments being considered and recommended different groups that were more knowledgeable. She maintained contact and streamed each meeting in order to better inform the Commission. Chief of Staff Barrow reached out to the United Daughters of the Confederacy General’s archivist Teresa Roane to provide her with articles about monuments and markers in Georgia that were mentioned in the UDC magazine over the years. After the Atlanta advisory committee made its recommendations to the mayor, Chief of Staff Barrow reached out to BATL, an organization who is to refurbish the Walker and McPherson monuments in Atlanta and the Commission gave money towards the project, to determine when and if they would continue with the project. Hopefully by Spring, per Henry Bryant, President of BATL, the group will begin the long restoration and refurbishing process.
OCGA 50-3-1 protects all military monuments in Georgia. At this time, Chairman Culpepper allowed Mr. Ayman Fadel to address the Commission about the resolution the Commission would consider next. Mr. Fadel, of the CSRA Peace Alliance, stated there are not enough monuments to peace. It is his opinion that municipalities should mot have to deal with the state about monuments. He feels there should be conversations engaged by municipalities between groups of people. Mr. Fadel feels that moving monuments is the best solution for the citizens of an area because the wording on monuments can be offensive to some citizens. In conclusion, the “Lost Cause mythology,” per Mr. Fadel, has the best property in most cities and others should be allowed that property as well.
At this point, Chairman Culpepper recognized Denice Traina, CSRA Peace Alliance, to speak on OCGA 50-3-1 and the resolution the Commission was considering adopting. Ms. Traina stated that the downtown monument in Augusta is offensive and money needs to be given to move monuments. She stated she served on a board, name of board not given, to move Confederate monuments. Ms. Traina said it is imperative to recall mistakes of the past and the continued presence of Confederate monuments is disturbing. There needs to be a respect for others, which will create a unity in the community. Per her, the monuments are racist and send a negative message. Chairman Culpepper thanked Ms. Traina and Mr. Fadel for coming and sharing their opinions with the Commission.
Chairman Culpepper then had Commissioner Barrow read the proposed Resolution that had been emailed to all Commissioners. There was discussion about what the law said versus what the Resolution stated, trying to make sure that the Resolution complied.
At this time Chairman Culpepper was made aware by Commissioner Shelor that Mr. Fadel-was recording the discussion without approval, which caused some concern among the Commissioners and guests. Mr. Fadel and Ms. Traina stated that the Sunshine La allowed them the ability to record without permission. Chief of Staff Barrow searched to find this in the Georgia State Code. Chief of Staff Barrow found where the board/ commission could record at its discretion, which was interpreted to mean if the Commission did not want the meeting recorded by an outside source, they did not have to allow it. Discussion among the Commissioners ensued, with a motion being made by Commissioner Eberhart that Mr. Fadel would stop recording since he had not obtained permission prior. This motion was seconded by Commissioner Collier and passed unanimously. Chairman Culpepper asked Mr. Fadel to stop recording the meeting, and Mr. Fadel, after some resistance, agreed to comply.
Discussion then began again about the Resolution that Commissioner Barrow had proposed. The points of contextualizing and reinterpreting were considered. Commissioner Wills made a motion to take out, “THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the Georgia Civil War Commission espouses that all war monuments and memorials, including Confederate monuments and memorials, should not be removed from their current location or contextualized. History has many sides and facets, and these monuments and memorials remind us of that, encouraging future generations to look back on history to learn,” and add “Therefore” in front of the previous paragraph. In addition to his motion, Commissioner Wills asked for War Between the States to be changed to Civil War. Commissioner Shelor seconded this motion. A voice vote was taken: Commissioner Eberhart – yes; Commissioner Wills – yes; Commissioner Carroll – yes; Commissioner Shelor – yes; Commissioner Collier – yes; Commissioner Barrow – yes; Commissioner Ledford – yes; Commissioner Yancey – yes. Motion carried to amend the Resolution.
Chairman Culpepper then called for a vote on the Resolution, which would read like this, “BOARD RESOLUTION OF GEORGIA CIVIL WAR COMMISSION ACKNOWLEDGING GEORGIA STATE CODE 50-3-1; Upon motion, duly seconded, the following resolution was adopted: WHEREAS, the Georgia Civil War Commission was created by the 1993 Georgia General Assembly with its mandate, as spelled out in Senate Resolution 21, to coordinate planning, preservation, and promotion of structures, buildings, sites, and battlefields associated with this significant period of our common heritage; and
WHEREAS, one of the reasons the Georgia Civil War Commission was created was to protect and preserve structures of the Civil War era, which include the Confederate monuments and memorials that dot our state’s landscape; and THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, the Georgia Civil War Commission supports the current Georgia State Code 50-3-1 as written, with no amendments, which protects all war memorials and monuments across the state; and; In witness thereof, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Seal of the Georgia Civil War Commission to be affixed this 3rd day of December in the year of our Lord two thousand seventeen.” A voice vote was requested: Commissioner Yancey – yes; Commissioner Barrow – yes; Commissioner Collier – yes; Commissioner Carroll – yes; Commissioner Wills – yes; Commissioner Eberhart – yes; Commissioner Shelor – yes; Commissioner Ledford – yes. Passing of the aforesaid Resolution was unanimous.
Chairman Culpepper requested that Chief of Staff Barrow send three copies with the Commission’s seal to him to execute and he would forward the Resolution to Commissioner/ Secretary Yancey to sign.
Chairman Culpepper then addressed the issue of Mr. Fadel recording without permission or notification. The Commissioners discussed Mr. Fadel deleting the recording. Commissioner Collier made a motion to have Mr. Ayman Fadel delete the unauthorized recording; Commissioner Barrow seconded. Motion carried.
Under New Business, Chairman Culpepper opened the floor for discussion of the Commission Certificate of Commendation for Daryl Hutchison, which the application was emailed to the Commissioners prior to the meeting. Commissioner Carroll recommend the commendation award for Mr. Hutchinson due to his work to create the Commission logo and him helping over the years with formatting issues, all at no cost to the Commission. Commissioner Carroll made a motion to accept the application of Daryl Hutchinson as recipient of the Certificate of Commendation award. Commissioner Collier seconded the motion that carried.
Chairman Culpepper read a request letter of support from The Ladies of the Grand Army of the Republic to place a bronze marker at Andersonville honoring the LGAR. Commissioner Barrow made a motion that Chairman Culpepper write a letter to the Department of Interior stating the Commission’s support on this project. Commissioner Wills seconded the motion that passed.
At the end of the meeting, each Commissioner may bring something before the Commission. Commissioner Wills reminded the Commissioners about the Kennesaw State University Center of Civil War Studies and the Commissions symposium “Home Sweet Home” on March 24, 2018. The $1,000 that was earmarked from the Commission in support of this event was to go to help pay for Bobby Horton to perform at the end.
Chairman Culpepper stated that the Commission needed to have a presence at the Capitol during legislative session. He stated that Chief of Staff Culpepper was authorized to go to listen and share the Resolution. Chairman Culpepper would work with Senator Mullis to plan a luncheon for the Commission at the Capitol.
It was brought to the attention of Chairman Culpepper that Agenda Item #18 was overlooked. Chairman Culpepper stated that the recommended amendment from Commissioner Carroll to change the quorum from the required eight of fifteen to 50% of the current appointed Commissioners due to the vacant positions on the Commission was rejected by the Attorney General of the State of Georgia’s office.
The next Quarterly Meeting was scheduled for March 24, 2018 at 2:00 at KSU Center in Kennesaw. This meeting will be preceded by the symposium “Home Sweet Home” from 9-12. Chairman Culpepper asked for a motion to adjourn. Commissioner Carroll made the motion that Commissioner Wills seconded.
Respectfully submitted by Cassie Barrow, Chief of Staff
Georgia Civil War Commission