A statue of John Lewis will be erected on the site of the Confederate obelisk

A statue of John Lewis will replace the space where a Confederate monument once stood in Georgia.

World-renowned sculptor Basil Watson was commissioned to create the statue of the civil rights legend, which is expected to be completed by 2024, CNN reported.

The 16-foot-tall statue will be erected in the Decatur congressional district that Lewis represented for 17 terms. Previously, at this location, there was a Confederate obelisk standing for over 100 years until it was removed in 2020.

“A monument that represented bigotry, division and hatred will be replaced with a monument to a man who loved, who cherished this nation and brought all people of all colors together,” said DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond , at a ceremony on December 29.

The memorial will be located on the walkway approaching the historic Decatur Courthouse, according to the John Lewis Tribute website.

The statue previously placed there was a 30-foot stone obelisk erected by the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1908.

Following the murder of George Floyd and appeals from Beacon Hill Decatur and Decatur High School students, Superior Court Judge Clarence Seeliger ordered the removal of the obelisk on June 18, 2020.

In 2021, the John Lewis Memorial Task Force announced plans to honor the congressional veteran. The committee issued a national call for artists and announced on Thursday that Mr Watson had been chosen.

Mr. Watson is originally from Jamaica but has worked in Atlanta for two decades.

“I am very proud and find it a distinct honor to be chosen to reflect John Lewis,” Mr Watson said. Alive11 News. “I hope it’s a meaningful contribution to the story of civil rights, justice and equality in … not just in Atlanta, but in the United States and around the world.”

The sculptor, who has previously been commissioned to work on statues of several high-profile figures including Martin Luther King and Usain Bolt, said he briefly met Lewis before his death in 2020.

“Everyone was so excited. We talked for maybe 30 seconds but he left an impression,” Mr Watson said at the ceremony after his appointment was announced. “The story of John Lewis is a powerful story that needs to be told”,

Lewis served nearly three decades as a representative for Georgia’s 5th congressional district in the United States House of Representatives from 1987 until his death in 2020. He was often praised by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi as “the conscience of Congress” for his unwavering commitment to his constituents.

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