STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. -- Patriotism and politics collide on America's birthday.

The Fourth of July celebration took a different tone at Stone Mountain Park Wednesday when protesters marched putting the mountain's Confederate carving in the spotlight.

RELATED | NAACP holds July 4 rally to call for sandblasting of Stone Mountain's carving

"I don't think taxpayer money should be used to support a park that represents the oppression of a group of people," Keisha Braswell with the Alliance for Black Lives said.

"We picked July 4th, Independence Day as a demonstration that for so long, July 4th didn't mean much independence for America's Black and Brown population," said Richard Rose, Atlanta NAACP President.

"We still have some issues that are within our government," Braswell said.

The candidates for governor have been vocal on the issue and generally divided along partisan lines.

It was a tweet from Republican gubernatorial candidate Casey Cagle that lit a fire.

"When I'm governor, we will preserve Stone Mountain as the monument and cultural attraction it was intended to be, one that brings in visitors from around the world," the tweet said. "I will work on behalf of all Georgians, but I will also stand up to the extremists who think we have to sandblast the past to move into the future."

"That's typical of Casey Cagle whom I don't respect intellectually," Rose said. "We will have another dumb governor of Georgia if Casey Cagle is elected."

"Just because we're wanting change for the better and to unite us doesn't make us extremists," Braswell said.

Brian Kemp also took to Twitter about Stone Mountain.

"As governor, I will protect Stone Mountain and historical monuments in Georgia from the radical left. We should learn from the past - not attempt to re-write it."

Kemp and Cagle will have to face off in the upcoming GOP runoff race.

READ | Early voting begins Monday in GOP governor's runoff, other races

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams announced her support for removal of the carving in the immediate August 2017 aftermath of the Charlottesville, Va., riots that killed one person and injured dozens of others.

Photo courtesy NAACP Atlanta.

The group snapped a photo at the top of the mountain and planted an American flag there as a symbol of unity. They plan to continue these demonstrations and ramp it up when all eyes are on Georgia during the Super Bowl.


Sign up for The Speed Feed newsletter below to get the latest headlines in your inbox each weekday!