ATLANTA — The state of Georgia is moving the statue of a controversial politician from the grounds of the capitol to a nearby park, giving Georgians an opportunity to rethink a time in the state’s history.
Officials contend the move is part of a plan to renovate the steps of the historic state capitol, according to various reports.
The 12-foot-tall bronze statue depicting Thomas E. Watson will be moved to Plaza Park, located across the street from the state capitol, according to an executive order Governor Nathan Deal signed on October 4.
“This is just part of an ongoing project to renovate the steps around the State Capitol,” Paul Melvin, a Georgia Building Authority spokesman told the New York Times. “We’re moving the statue because of the construction. To move it back would be a prohibitive cost that’s not in the budget.”
Watson served in the U.S. House from 1891 until 1893 and the U.S. Senate from 1921 until 1922. But, he is remembered, according to the New Georgia Encyclopedia, “for being a voice for Populism and the disenfranchised, and later in life, as a southern demagogue and bigot.”