Oakland Cemetery is an eighty-eight acre space of beauty and serenity in the heart of Atlanta, Georgia. The cemetery served as the final resting place for everyone in Atlanta between 1850 and the early 1880’s, including all races, religions, and social classes (segregated of course). Among the notables in this cemetery you can find the graves of James Tate, co-founder of the first black school in Atlanta, Bishop Wesley John Gaines, a former slave and founder of Morris Brown College, Dr. Joseph Jacobs, the pharmacist who introduced Coca-Cola, and author of Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell, just to name a few.
In July of 1864, Confederate General John Bell Hood stood on a hill and watched the Battle of Atlanta just a couple of miles away. So it is only fitting that there be a large area of unmarked graves from this battle. It is said that some three thousand soldiers are buried in several mass graves here. Their only monument is the beautiful marble “Lion of Atlanta”. This monument represents the Confederate soldiers who died defending their beliefs. The proud, mortally wounded lion is lying down, signifying defeat in battle. In his paw, he clutches a fallen battle flag, and he seems to be pulling his beloved banner toward him. Standing on the grass beside the lion, one can almost sense the thousands of souls interred here and the great sadness of the Confederacy. This place commands – and demands – reverence.