J.D.R. Hawkins

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Archive for the tag “Jefferson Davis Park”

Appeals Court Keeps Alive Confederate Parks Renaming Challenge

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Nathan Bedford Forrest’s statue and burial site are in Health Sciences Park, formerly named for the Confederate general. A state appeals court has kept alive the lawsuit over the renaming of that park and two others.

(Daily News File/Andrew J. Breig)

The Tennessee Court of Appeals has revived a legal challenge to the city’s renaming of three Confederate-themed parks with a Friday, Aug. 21, ruling that keeps only one of the 15 plaintiffs intact.

The case involves a lawsuit filed in 2013 following the Memphis City Council’s decision to rename Forrest Park, Jefferson Davis Park and Confederate Park. Shelby County Chancellor Kenny W. Armstrong dismissed the suit, ruling that the plaintiffs had not established that they had a standing in the case.

But in its Friday ruling, the appeals court said the Sons of Confederate Veterans Nathan Bedford Forrest Camp #215 does have standing and remanded the case back to Shelby County Chancery Court.

The opinion, written by Appeals Court Judge Brandon O. Gibson, upheld Armstrong’s dismissal of the 14 other plaintiffs, including descendants of Forrest, Sons of Confederate Veterans International and the group Citizens to Save Our Parks Inc.

The distinction, according to the ruling, is that the Forrest camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans “suffered a distinct and palpable injury not common to the citizenry at large” when the council voted to change the name of the park honoring the Confederate general, slave trader and Ku Klux Klan grand wizard. It’s new name is Health Sciences Park.

Gibson’s opinion specifically points to the chapter’s funding and installation of a 10-foot-long, 3,000-pound concrete marker at the edge of the park bearing the name “Forrest Park.”

The city’s removal of the marker was a pivotal moment that triggered a series of events, including a state law that bars renaming or removing monuments from parks that memorialize veterans and the wars they’ve served in.

Gibson also cited the SCV camp’s work in maintaining the park.

In a footnote, Gibson clarifies that the organization has standing to challenge the council’s action in renaming all three parks. But it notes the Chancery Court’s options include declaring the resolution invalid only in the case of the former Forrest Park, declaring the renaming of all three parks invalid, or upholding the renamings.

http://www.memphisdailynews.com/news/2015/aug/22/appeals-court-keeps-alive-confederate-parks-renaming-challenge/

(Article written by Bill Dries. Courtesy of The Southern Comfort, Sons of Confederate Veterans Private Samuel A. Hughey Camp #1452, Herando, MS, September 2015. Vol 39, Issue 9)

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The Civil War and Memphis

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Anyone interested in the War Between the States knows that Memphis is the site of many historically significant events. Tennessee ranks second in the number of battles that took place there (Virginia, of course, had the most). It isn’t surprising that, over the course of over 150 years, many places have disappeared beneath strip malls, golf courses, or kudzu. Some, however, still remain intact.

One of the most notable places is Elmwood Cemetery, where Nathan Bedford Forrest’s family is buried. (Historian and author, Shelby Foote, is interred beside them, and General Forrest is now buried at Forrest Park.) Also in the cemetery are numerous slave’s graves, Confederate soldiers’ graves, and victims of the 1878 yellow fever epidemic.

Jefferson Davis Park, on the banks of the Mississippi River, and Confederate Park nearby, both escaped flooding this spring. Many antebellum homes, including the beautiful Hunt-Phelan House, still exist, as does evidence left over from battles, such as a street sign marking Union General Washburn’s escape from General Forrest’s cavalry forces. A home that was part of the Underground Railroad still stands on North 2nd Street, and the Memphis newspaper, The Commercial Appeal, is still in publication. (During the war, the press was moved several times to avoid capture. The Commercial Appeal now publishes Civil War news every Sunday)

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