Fed says it won’t meet at Stone Mountain

Civil War markerThe Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta will not hold its annual conference this year at Stone Mountain Park, partly because of the controversy over the park’s continued display of Confederate flags.

The Atlanta Fed, one of a dozen regional branches of the central bank, had been holding its conference at Stone Mountain since the recession in an attempt to cut costs. But last summer, in the midst of rising debate over the appearance of Confederate imagery in public settings, officials said that they were considering a shift.

This spring, the Fed’s conference will be at Amelia Island in Florida.

The flag is one reason, but not the only one, said Jean Tate, a Fed spokeswoman. “The Atlanta Fed is committed to diversity and is sensitive to the concerns raised surrounding the display of confederate flags at Stone Mountain State Park. So while that was one of the factors considered, we evaluated several potential venues based on accessibility, meeting dates, cost and an atmosphere conducive to thoughtful deliberation on emerging issues.”

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The debate about the flag intensified in the wake of the church shootings in Charleston that left nine dead. The accused killer reportedly has white supremacist leanings and appeared in at least one on-line photo with the Confederate battle flag.

In the weeks after the killings, South Carolina removed the Confederate flag from the State House grounds.

There were Atlanta-area calls for removal of the flag from Stone Mountain Park from some elected officials and some civil rights activists. There were also some calls for the Fed to change the location for its meeting if the flag was not removed. The flag has remained, and Friday, the Fed confirmed its plan to move the meeting.

The Fed generally held its financial markets conference at Jekyll Island and Sea Island before the recession.

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