Statues of Jefferson Davis and Nathan Bedford Forrest Are Removed from Memphis After City Sells Parks

Associated Press and Reuters, December 21, 2017

Authorities in Memphis, a city steeped in civil rights history, removed two statues of Confederate leaders on Wednesday hours after the downtown parkland where they stood was sold to a private group.

Several U.S. cities have in recent months dismantled monuments to Confederate leaders, which have become focal points for a fraught national debate over race and politics.

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The City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to sell the two parks and crews began working right away to remove a statue of Forrest. At the second park, a statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis was later taken down.

Selling the parks to a third party was a way to get around the Tennessee Historical Commission, which had previously denied the city’s petition to take the statues down.

The parks were sold to Greenspace Inc. for $1,000 each, The Commercial Appeal reported. Memphis Chief Legal Officer Bruce McMullen said Greenspace can legally remove the statues, which the city was unable to do.

Live video from Health Sciences Park captured cheers as the statue of Forrest was lifted off its marble base and placed on a flatbed truck late Wednesday. Police had cordoned off the area around the statue. The statue of Davis was at Fourth Bluff Park.

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