In South Carolina, they are pulling Confederate flags down from state buildings. Memphis, Tennessee is doing you one better. They’re planning to dig up the body of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest.
The Memphis City Council voted unanimously last week to dig up the body of Nathan Bedford Forrest and move it to another location. They have also said they intend to sell a statue on the spot to “anyone who wants it.”
Forrest’s body and statue are currently to be found at Health Sciences Park on Union Avenue in Memphis. The general has been buried there for 110 years.
“The Forrest family is solidly opposed to digging up the graves and moving them any place,” said Lee Millar with the Son’s Of Confederate Veterans. “The statue just as well. They’re opposed to moving the statue too.”
Nathan Bedford Forrest was famous for his brutal attacks on Federal forces in the Civil War. He is also jokingly referred to as an ancestor of Forrest Gump, who is his namesake.
I just accidentally put my head in a ceiling fan, but actually more pleasant than reading local opinion pieces about Nathan Bedford Forrest.
— elizabeth catte (@elizabethcatte) July 11, 2015
The move comes at an odd time, considering the fact that the governor of Tennessee, Bill Haslam, signed an annual proclamation that this coming Monday, July 13, would be a day honoring Nathan Bedford Forrest. The governor of Tennessee is obliged to sign such a proclamation each year for the day to be observed. Some lawmakers have talked about changing that via legislation so it remains observed without the need for an annual proclamation from the governor.
The recent events in Memphis will surely clash with that sentiment.
First, it's "Remove Nathan Bedford Forrest's bust", now it's "N.B.F. DAY"? Is TN being run by Emily Litella? pic.twitter.com/VNJ8guGPJ5
— Steve Johnson (@Grizzly_Stevens) July 8, 2015
“This appears to me to be another knee jerk reaction to that anti-Confederate hysteria. Some people here are trying to get on the bandwagon in erasing Confederate history and its just wrong,” Millar said.
But one council member had another thought about the exhumation of Forrest and sale of his statue.
“Has anyone else heard UT (University of Tennessee) is about to do a $500 million expansion and that park is something they want?” asked council member Janis Fullilove.
“When I made this recommendation I had not heard that,” replied council member Lowery.
The matter is not settled, however. The Tennessee Historical Commission has to approve the move, and it is sure to have a court battle ahead.
I used to flip Nathan off when I passed by this bust. “TN Dems: Remove Nathan Bedford Forrest bust from TN Capitol” http://t.co/gNj5imACDE
— Candace Cunningham (@candace_n_c) June 23, 2015