National News

"Confederate History Month" proclamation rescinded in Griffin

Posted April 11, 2018 1:39 p.m. EDT

— After a Griffin city commissioner announced a proclamation to declare April 'Confederate History Month' the proposal was rescinded at a council meeting on Tuesday.

The board issued the proposal on March 27 but city commissioner Rodney McCord objected to it. That apparently angered former city commissioner Larry Johnson who then used racially inflammatory language in defending the proclamation.

The meeting chairperson Doug Hollberg did not stop Johnson, who then interrupted McCord, who was objecting to the use of the terms.

Protesters are agitated with how the chairperson responded after racially charged comments during a commissioner's meeting. Hollberg did speak up eventually, but only after McCord spoke up, saying the racially charged words were offensive.

During Tuesday's meeting Hollberg apologized for not intervening sooner. He said it was his study of the scriptures that moved him to apologize.

"I'm sorry that there's the possible perception that I didn't respond respond harshly enough to the gentleman's derogatory comments," said Hollberg.

CBS46 went to Johnson's house, but he did not allow our cameras inside. He said he counts McCord as a friend, and he said while he is a journalist, he was not at the meeting in that capacity.

Johnson showed pictures on his wall where he had served as a Griffin City Commissioner with black people, one of them he said is a mentor. He would only add that he'd be sending me a statement with his stance.

McCord said he and Johnson are not friends, and he said despite it all, he doesn't believe race places a huge factor in the Spalding County city of Griffin.

"We're just too diverse, we have too many good things going on," he said.

But he said recently there has been tension after the board chair declared April as Confederate History Month, and April 26 as Confederate Memorial Day.

The board voted down the proclamation during a council meeting on Tuesday.

Larry Johnson provided a statement to CBS46 shortly after the initial incident occurred:

For those that I have offended I apologize.

I was trying to make a point about a time in my life when I was about 5 years old playing with other kids about that age; black and white kids not yet touched by cruelties in the world. In doing so I used words familiar back then - but I was interrupted and did not get to say "We no longer use those words today and the world is a better place."

Larry Johnson