The city of Memphis, Tennessee is working toward removing the remains of a Confederate General and his wife from a local park.
The bodies of General Nathan Bedford Forrest and his wife Mary Ann are being removed from their graves to be transported to the National Confederate Museum at Elm Springs in Columbia, Tennessee.
The park that used to bear Forrest’s name is now called Health Sciences Park. It used to feature a statue of Forrest riding a horse. However, the statue was taken down back in 2017 due to a nationwide effort to remove Confederate statues.
Forrest is known to have sold slaves as well as being one of the early leaders of the Ku Klux Klan.
He is said to have been a violent racist.
While Forrest was a cavalry general, in April 1864, his troops attacked Fort Pillow in north-west Tennessee, killing between 200 and 300 Union soldiers, most of whom were Black.
An affidavit from the general’s great-great-grandson, Bedford Forrest Myers, detailed the plans for the effort.
The grandson has also expressed his support for this, saying:
“Relocating the graves is proper because the Property has lost its character as a burial ground.”
Millar added: "Certainly having a cemetery was a detriment to developing it and then the Forrest family and the Sons of Confederate Veterans likewise wanted it moved someplace else, so it worked out that everyone was in agreement."
— Brad Broders (@Local24Brad) June 1, 2021
Over the past few years, there have been a number of protests at the general’s burial site.
Activists have also painted the words ‘Black Lives Matter’ near his grave.
According to a report, the decision to move the bodies was made last year after an organization called the Sons of Confederate Veterans, which consists of descendants of Confederate veterans, agreed to stop a lawsuit against the park’s owners.
The remains of the former KKK leader and his wife will be reburied and the statue placed at the National Confederate Museum at Elm Springs in Columbia, Tennessee. >> https://t.co/yOab9WbEeh
— Mariah Self (@mariahaself) June 2, 2021
Sons of Confederate Veterans spokesperson and fifth cousin of Forrest, Lee Millar said that the disinterment started on June 1, with the work paid for by the Sons of the Confederate Veterans.
The general and his wife have been located in the park for over 100 years, and it is undeniable that this won’t be an easy process.
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