The Georgia State Capital in Downtown Atlanta
One of the beautiful trees at the Georgia State Capital is this huge Magnolia Tree. It was lovingly planted by the Atlanta Ladies Memorial Association on January 19th 1930. A plaque was placed and the dedication of the tree was spelled out.
To the Memory of William Ambrose Wright
Born at Louisville, Georgia, January 19, 1844. Died at Atlanta, Georgia, September 13, 1929; SOLDIER, STATESMAN, AND CHRISTIAN KNIGHT: A gallant officer in the army of the Confederate States of America; for fifty years Comptroller General of the Commonwealth. Guardian of its honor, and its people’s friend; a gentleman in whom lived the graces, the virtues and the heroisms of the Old South;
This tree is lovingly planted, and this tablet reverently inscribed by
The Atlanta Ladies Memorial Association January 19, 1930
For almost 90 years the plaque laid at the base of the magnolia shown above. Now the plaque has been moved onto the other side of the Georgia Capital near the John B. Gordon Equestrian Statue as seen in the two pictures below:
So the question that begs to be answered is why?
Before that question is answered a little history behind my interest in this plaque. On April 26, 2017, I published a book based on the letters of my GGGrandfather, Stephen A. Corker. Corker was a Captain in the Confederate Army and led the 3rd Georgia at Gettysburg on July 2, 1863.
Captain Corker's 3rd Georgia was under the command of Colonel Ambrose Wright, the father of William Wright for which the plaque in question is dedicated to. In my book are many letters which mention Colonel Wright and William Wright.
William Wright lost a leg at the Second Battle of Manassas in September of 1862. Once healed he went back to fight and was captured in June 1863. He was sent to Johnson's Island Union Prison in Ohio. Corker after capture at Gettysburg was sent to Johnson's Island also. A letter from the Union Prison dated May 17, 1864 mentions William Wright and other sick prisoners being exchanged.
My book took 5 years of research and discovery to finally publish. Therefore my knowledge of the Wrights led me to discover this plaque next to the Magnolia Tree. My intent was to eventually work to have the plaque restored and beautified. Imagine my shock to find it gone!
But before we move onto that, there is another memorial that had caught my eye in my research for my book. In 1870, Captain Corker ran for the House of Representatives in the 41st US Congress. He won the election but was challenged by a man named Thomas P. Beard. Beard is one of the names on the statue below which had also been moved from it's original location at the State Capital.
The “Expelled Because of Their Color” monument is dedicated to the 33 black state senators and house members removed from office in 1868 because they were black. This monument has been moved from the right of the magnolia tree to the left of the magnolia where the William Wright plaque was once located.
T.P. Beard's name below
So now we get to why the Wright plaque might have been moved. The Georgia Building Authority has not offered any explanation, so lets take a guess. To the right of the "Right Tree" now sits the following statue which was installed on August 28, 2017. With the removal of the Wright plaque this section of the capital grounds is now segregated.
"Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice".
Martin Luther King from his I have a dream speech in Washington, DC. 1963.
The State of Georgia should step in and correct this action and return the Wright plaque to the "right"tree that was planted in his honor.
Proverbs 22:28 "Remove not the ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set."