Earlier this week, I wrote about how the city of Memphis has been working to remove the statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest from a city park (previously known as Forrest park until the city council changed the name a few years back). Last night, after the council voted, the statue was removed. Another statue of Jefferson Davis was also removed. I am heartsick that this has happened. The city council also wants to remove the remains of General Forrest and his wife, which are buried under the statue’s base. It is repulsive and deeply offensive that they would show such a blatant disrespect to the general’s descendants.
Today, the Sons of Confederate Veterans issued a statement saying they would fight the actions taken by the Memphis city council and would go through litigation to reverse the removal of the statues. Memphis seems to think that they could remove the statues because they sold the two parks where the statues were located for a mere $1000 each, and now that the parks are now privately owned, the new owners can remove the statues. However, this goes against Tennessee law that all historical monuments, names, etc. should remain intact.
Memphis has previously lost every court case, hearing and appeal to remove the statues. So they contrived a back door way of removing the statues and snuck around in the dark to remove them. I find this appalling and disgusting, not to mention illegal. But after living outside of Memphis for years, I totally get it. When we first moved there from Colorado, I was shocked about the mafia-like politics that take place there. It seemed so 1930’s to me, and yet, they frequently got away with all kinds of crimes. Now they have taken the law into their own hands and gone against it for their own behalf. But what does it really accomplish?
When I told a friend last night that Memphis was taking down the statues, she responded by saying, “Are they really still doing that?” I knew what she meant. Is the south still destoying its history? Wasting money that would be better spent elsewhere? I’m glad I live in Colorado now and don’t have to see this desecration. I only hope Memphis learns its lesson the hard way.
It amazes me how Memphis just can’t get over its past and embrace it instead of trying to erase it. I always loved living outside Memphis because of all its rich history, including Sun Studios, Graceland, and yes, Confederate monuments. The first time I visited Memphis before moving there, I saw the grand statue in what was then known as Forrest Park, and recognized the man on the horse as General Nathan Bedford Forrest. My son thought I was a total Civil War geek when I saw it and exclaimed, “There’s General Forrest!” Memphis has no idea what gems it has with these Civil War statues. Instead, they have chosen to eradicate them because a few complainers have decided that all things Confederate are offensive. I don’t know how wrong they can be. I’m not from the South, but I did my research, and General Forrest deserves to be celebrated because he was a genius in strategy and was one of the first to set his slaves free (unlike many northern generals). In fact, many of his slaves chose to fight for him by their own accord. It’s sad how history has been twisted and altered, and how people today refuse to educate themselves and read to learn the truth for themselves.
The City of Memphis filed a petition in Davidson County Chancery Court on Monday, Dec. 11. Officials asked for judicial review of the Tennessee Historical Commission’s denial of a request to remove the statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest from Health Sciences Park.
Protesters have called for the statue’s removal, saying it represents racism and bigotry. City leaders have discussed ways to relocate the statue of Forrest and move his remains, which are buried under the monument.
On Oct. 13, the Nashville-based historical commission denied the City’s request for a waiver to Tennessee’s Heritage Protection Act, which limits the removal or changing of historical memorials on public property. The waiver would allow the City to relocate the statue.
State Law passed in 2013 prevents the removal or relocation of statues or monuments honoring U.S. wars located on public property. The 2013 act also says no statue of a historical military figure may be renamed or rededicated.
In 2016, the General Assembly changed the act. It now prohibits the removal or relocation of any statue or memorial honoring a historic conflict, historic entity or historic figure from public property.
City attorney Allan Wade argues in the petition that Memphis filed its waiver request under the original act, which does not say that statues of historical military figures can’t be removed – only that they can’t be renamed or rededicated. The city claims the waiver request filed March 7, 2016, came before changes made to the act to include language applicable to the Forrest statue went into effect.
“By its express terms the 2013 act does not prevent a Historical Military Figure Memorial from being relocated, removed, altered or otherwise disturbed as long as it is not renamed or rededicated, ” the petition states.
The commission’s waiver denial was illegal and arbitrary, Wade argues. The petition seeks a decree from the court ordering that the city has the right to remove or relocate the Forrest statue.
Commission Executive Director E. Patrick McIntyre Jr. declined to comment.
I started watching the series, Stranger Things, on Netflix the other night, and then got to thinking. There is nothing stranger than what is going on in our country right now. I am referring to all the blatant disregard toward American history, and more specifically, toward Confederate history. Monuments are being targeted, whereas last year, it was the Confederate battle flag that was under attack. Now, the statues are supposedly “racist,” and are being accused of displaying “white supremacy.” I have yet to figure out how some people associate these terms with Confederate soldiers’ statues. The monuments were primarily placed by the United Daughters of the Confederacy in the early 1900’s, and I seriously doubt those ladies purchased them to make racist statements. No, funds were raised to erect the monuments in honor of their lost loved ones and their beloved generals. Those soldiers were not racist. They fought to preserve their homes, and many gave their lives in doing so. In retaliation, the UDC is now being called an extension of the KKK. Absurd!
The latest insanity is the cancellation of an annual reenactment at the Manassas battlefield this weekend. Today, the Charlottesville, Virginia, city council had statues of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson covered with black tarps, as if that will accomplish anything. And earlier this week, a forum was held in Oxford, Mississippi to discuss the Confederate monument. The forum was not advertised. One woman in attendance complained about the statue of Robert E. Lee in front of City Hall. However, the statue is actually that of William Faulkner.
These idiots don’t even know what they are protesting. Their ignorance is appalling. To claim that every Confederate soldier fought for white supremacy and was a racist is like saying they all fought to preserve slavery. So not true! This foolish misconception and misrepresentation is leading to more destruction and causing deeper rifts, and the amount of taxpayers’ money being used to move the monuments is enormous. In Memphis, it is estimated that it will cost the city around $7-800,000 to move the statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest. It’s hard to justify that tremendous expense when the city is drowning in debt, teeming with corruption, and has one of the highest crime rates in the country. When taken to a vote, the majority of citizens do not want the statues removed. Somehow, stupidity reigns supreme.
On this date in 1864, Confederate General John Bell Hood launched an attack on the Federals outside Atlanta, Georgia. The Yankees were well-entrenched, and Hood’s troops, who ran headlong into their opponents, were predictably slaughtered. The outcome of the Battle of Ezra Church was 3,000 Confederates lost versus 700 Union soldiers. Hood’s assault, like those that had previously taken place at Peach Tree Creek and Atlanta, was a dismal failure. And like those two battles, the Battle of Ezra Church is only remembered by a few markers.
This is yet another example of what can happen to hallowed ground if it is not protected. Battlefields around Atlanta have been swallowed up by commercial and residential development. Some markers designating the area of the Battle of Ezra Church have been vandalized.
Right now, an assault is being waged against other monuments as well. After the city of New Orleans announced they were postponing a decision about removing five Confederate monuments, vandals expressed their anger by seeking revenge and spray painting graffiti on the monument of General Robert E. Lee. And the statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest, located in what was previously known as Forrest Park in downtown Memphis (near Sun Studios, where Elvis recorded his first hit record), was also spray painted.
These places and monuments should be upheld with honor to those who served and died for a cause they believed in. Unfortunately, the true story of the Civil War is hardly taught in schools today, so those too ignorant to seek the truth believe the South fought to preserve slavery. This is completely wrong. Instead of destroying our nation’s history or trying to erase it by changing names, we should be enlightening people with the truth about why the war was fought and why the repercussions following the Civil War happened the way they did. If we don’t, we are only hurting ourselves.
Today marks the start of Confederate Heritage Month. April was originally chosen because Confederate Memorial Day is usually celebrated during the month. Seven Southern states (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas and Virginia) historically designated the month as a time to honor their Confederate ancestors, but due to recent racial climates, some states have rescinded from acknowledging this designation. Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant recently signed a declaration proclaiming April as Confederate Heritage Month.
This designation has been in place for years, but this year, it has become even more controversial, due to the murderous rampage of one lunatic who shot innocent black church goers and had the audacity to wave the Confederate flag beforehand. Since then, the media circus has decided to blame the Confederate battle flag for this atrocity. The hysteria has spread to attacking monuments and other artifacts honoring Confederate veterans and heroes, some of which have been in existence for over a century. Is it a scapegoat, or a sign of the times of how dumbed down this society has become?
Let me set the record straight. Confederate soldiers did not fight to preserve slavery. Most could have cared less. They were fighting to save their homes. The war became an issue of slavery only after President Lincoln knew the North was losing the war and decided to make it about a moral issue. In other words, it was about politics. Those statues you see of General Lee, Jefferson Davis and Nathan Bedford Forrest are there to honor the men who tried in vain to preserve the Confederacy. Forrest’s ex-slaves so adored him that they fought under his leadership. Lee set his inherited slaves free prior to the war. And Davis never wanted to become president of the Confederacy because he had the foresight to see the bloodbath that was about to happen. They all fought in honor of the South.
In lieu of the assaults now taking place on Confederate flags, memorials, and monuments, I would like to stress that these items do not belong in dusty museums, hidden away from the modern world. They also do not belong to random citizens who think they have the right to vandalize them. These are memorials to America’s war veterans. Sorry if some don’t agree with what they perceive was the reason for the war. I don’t agree with every reason this country has ever gotten involved in a war or conflict, but you don’t see me spray painting the Vietnam Wall or the Korean War Memorial (BTW, my father was a veteran of that war). Compassion, understanding and knowledge are what is needed to accept why soldiers fought for the Confederacy. Times have changed. We must take that into account in order to comprehend what they believed in and realize how honorable they truly were.
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.
(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)