A city council Memphis, Tennessee unanimously approved the plan to dig up the remains of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest grave from under his statue at the Health Sciences Park on Union Avenue.
The plan is to relocate the man’s remains, but the city council’s attorney added that Chancery Court would also have to sign off on the removal of the remains and the family of Forrest would be involved in the decision as well.
The removal of the statue has been proposed as an ordinance before the council which will have to be read before the council three times before it can be approved. From there it will be presented to the Tennessee Historic Commission but there is no timeline for when they will make a decision. The next time the commission is scheduled to meet is in October.
“It is no longer politically correct to glorify someone who was a slave trader, someone who was a racist on public property,” said City Council member Myron Lowery.
Lowery has spear headed the removal of Nathan Bedford Forrest’s grave and statue from the park once named after him. Lowery said recent tragedies were what has propelled the change, two years after the city changed the park’s name.
“It was clearly after what happened in South Carolina. It was clearly after what happened in the state capital of Tennessee,” he said.
Statue of General Nathan Bedford Forrest will be removed and his remains may be dug up photo/ screenshot of WREG coverage
Forrest was the Democrat delegate from Tennessee, serving as a Lt. General during the Civil War. He became the first “Grand Wizard” of the Klu Klux Klan, amassing a fortune as a planter, real estate investor, and slave trader.
“I think it’s disgusting that people use the shooting in Charleston [S.C.] and use those victims to forward their own agenda and join this anti-Confederate hysteria that’s going on,” the Sons of the Confederate Veterans spokesperson, Lee Millar, told WREG, adding that the decision was a knee-jerk reaction.
“To attack something like that now I feel is just really misguided.”
The staff at Elmwood Cemetery, the oldest active cemetery in Memphis, offered to take Forrest’s remains, but said they didn’t want his statue currently standing above his grave.
Councilman Edmund Ford, Junior said there’s a more important question that must be asked.
“Even when all the flags have been taken down and when all the artifacts have been moved, what do we do next as a people?” he asked.
Full video coverage by WREG can be found HERE