A Georgia city councilman has resigned in protest at the reopening of a Confederate gift shop that sells images with racial slurs and dolls and statues that caricature black people, media reported.
Kennesaw Councilman James “Doc” Eaton said he didn’t want to be involved in the city’s decision to issue a business license to the downtown store. His resignation is effective June 21.
“It breaks my heart to have to do this,” Eaton told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Eaton’s daughter, Cris Eaton Welsh, owns a chiropractic business opposite the gift shop and said she plans to move.
“There’s a difference between selling goods and spreading hate,” Eaton Welsh said.
Wildman’s Civil War Surplus reopened on Tuesday after closing earlier this year following the death of its founder, Dent “Wildman” Myers, and the expiration of its business license, the AJC reported.
Marjorie Lyon, who worked with Myers for years, said reopening Wildman “wasn’t a decision.”
“It’s an honor,” she told AJC. Lyon identified herself as the store manager.
“I have no control over someone’s emotional reaction,” she said. “I heard all kinds of colorful things. And everyone is entitled to their opinion.
The store also carries Confederate memorabilia, antique weapons and Civil War books, the Marietta Daily Journal reported.
City officials said the store followed the required process for all businesses to obtain a license.
“The City of Kennesaw does not pick or choose or try to find reasons not to issue a business license when an applicant meets all of the criteria,” City Manager Jeff Drobney told WAGA-TV.