Thousands of Americans gather for Fourth of July protests as Black Panther members arrive at a Confederate monument used by the KKK in Georgia and demonstrators burn the American flag near Trump Tower
- Thousands of Americans have continued police brutality and racial inequality protests across the country on the Fourth of July
- The holiday is underscored by a backdrop of increasing divisiveness over President Trump’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic, systematic racism found in several societal institutions and police brutality
- Black Panther members arrived to Stone Mountain Confederate Memorial in Georgia to protest its reopening because of its ties to the Ku Klux Klan
- Protesters in New York City burned an American flag near Trump Tower and crowds swarmed the streets
- Several other protests were held in Washington D.C., Chicago, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh and more
Thousands of Americans ditched traditional cookouts on Independence Day to fight for a re-imagined country with scores of protests spattered across several cities – including an American flag burning in New York City – as tensions over racial inequality and coronavirus spikes mount.
The last several weeks have been a particularly divisive time in the United States as an invisible battle line has been drawn between civilians over a number of issues from law enforcement to face masks.
The arrival of the Fourth of July on Saturday was not a cause of celebration for a number of Americans who believe the fight for freedom on the 224th Independence Day is far from over.
In Georgia, members of the Black Panther Party descended into Stone Mountain Park as calls to remove the Stone Mountain Confederate Memorial boom.
Thousands of protesters across the United States sidestepped traditional barbecues and cookouts to participate in Fourth of July protests against police brutality and racism
Members of the Black Panther Party (pictured) arrived in Stone Mountain Park on July 4th as officials reopened the Stone Mountain Confederate Memorial – a site commonly used by white supremacist group Ku Klux Klan
Several American flags were torched on Saturday as protesters lit them ablaze near Trump Tower in New York City as citizens are becoming increasingly exhausted by divisive rhetoric
Stone Mountain Confederate Memorial, a nine-story-high base-relief sculpture carved into a sprawling rock face northeast of Atlanta, is perhaps the South’s most audacious monument to its pro-slavery legacy still intact.
Despite long-standing demands for the removal of what many consider a shrine to racism, the giant depiction of three Confederate heroes on horseback still towers ominously over the Georgia countryside, protected by state law.
It, as well as many other Confederate statues, have become caught in between Americans who argue they celebrate hatred ideologies and those who believe it honors the tradition of the South.
‘Here we are in Atlanta, the birthplace of the Civil Rights Movement and still we have the largest Confederate monument in the world,’ said Gerald Griggs, a vice president of the Atlanta chapter of the NAACP civil rights group, which staged a march last week calling for the carving to be scraped from the mountainside.
‘It’s time for our state to get on the right side of history.’
Stone Mountain has long held symbolism for white supremacists. The Ku Klux Klan, a hate group that was formed by Confederate Army veterans and has a history of lynchings and terror against Black people, held its rebirth ceremony atop mountain in 1915 with flaming crosses.
Protesters holding signs like ‘The Founding Father’s Owned Slaves’ and Black Lives Matter signs kneel near the remains of a torched American flag outside of Trump Tower
Angela Moore (center), holds a US flag upside down and a sign that reads ” Stop Killing” while standing near policemen during a small standoff between police and protesters in front of Lafayette Square near the White House in Washington, DC
A protester shouts at a line of policemen during a small standoff between police and protesters in front of Lafayette Square near the White House in Washington, DC
The burning of the American flag outside of Trump Tower is viewed as a direct act of defiance against an administration that has been criticized for being tone deaf on racial issues
Second Amendment groups gather to protest in Richmond, Virginia. Event pages on social media said that the groups were protesting about open carry laws, in memorial of Duncan Lemp and against Governor Ralph Northam.
Klansmen still hold occasional gatherings in the shadows of the edifice, albeit now met with protesters behind police tape. Many of those cross-burnings took place on or around July 4
But with the rise of the Civil Rights Movement, segregationist officials in the state pushed for the creation the Stone Mountain Memorial Association in 1958 and purchased the park. The carving was completed in 1972.
‘This debate has been going on for years, and we’re sensitive to it,” John Bankhead, a spokesman for the group, said.
‘We want to tell history as it is, not as some say it is.’
Protesters in Richmond, Virginia, gathered near the now-defaced Robert E. Lee statue on July 4. The Confederate monument was one of many that have been damaged since protests began in May
A sign reading ‘Fight White Supremacy Free All Political Prisoners’ is hoisted into the air at a Fourth of July Black Lives Matter demonstration in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Members of the DC Metropolitan Police arrest a black man at Black Lives Matter Plaza July 4, 2020 in Washington, DC, as protests over police brutality and systemic racism continue