A few weeks ago, a judge in Nashville, Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle, ruled that the removal of three Confederate statues from public parks in Memphis, Tennessee was legal and didn’t violate any state law. Although the Tennessee Heritage Protection Act limits changing or removing historical memorials on public property, Memphis found a loophole and sold two of its parks to a nonprofit for $1000 each. The nonprofit company quickly removed the three statues of Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Capt. J. Harvey Mathes. However, now the tide has turned.
TENNESSEE AMENDS LAW
Governor Bill Haslam has signed the newly amended Heritage Protection Act, which was proposed in response to the removal of Confederate monuments in Memphis.
The act now requires a waiver from the Tennessee Historical Commission before public property containing a statue is sold or transferred, or a statue, monument, or historical marker is removed.
The new legislation also bans any public entity that violates the law from receiving grants from the Historical Commission and the state Department of Economic and Community Development for five years.
The law also allows for anyone with “a real interest in a memorial” to seek an injunction if they believe the law has been violated.
The act went into effect immediately upon Haslam’s signature Monday, May 21.
(Courtesy of Southern Heritage News and Views, May 25, 2018 ed.)