Posted on October 17, 2019

Tennessee Supreme Court Won’t Hear Appeal in Memphis Confederate Statue Removal, Paving Way for Relocation

Samuel Hardiman, Memphis Commercial Appeal, October 16, 2019

The Tennessee Supreme Court affirmed Monday a lower court’s decisions to dismiss a suit against the City of Memphis regarding the removal of Confederate statues.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans, Nathan Bedford Forrest Camp #215 had appealed a June decision from the Tennessee Court of Appeals to dismiss a suit regarding the legality of the City of Memphis removing the statues in late-2017.

Statues of Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Confederate general, slave trader and member of the Ku Klux Klan, and Jefferson Davis, the only president of the Confederate States of America, and Captain J. Harvey Mathes were removed.


That decision affirmed a June decision from the Tennessee Court of Appeals that Memphis had acted legally in removing the statues. The Appeal Court held that the statues were no longer public property {snip}

Shelby County Commissioner Van Turner, who runs Memphis Greenspace, said he was pleased with the Tennessee High Court’s decision and that it could now expedite the process for the statues to be relocated.


“I’m not so concerned about the price tag as I am about relocating the monuments outside of Shelby County and putting them in the hands of someone who is going to preserve them and tell the history, and hopefully both sides of the history,” Turner said.


Legally, removing the graves is a separate matter, independent of the statues.

Lee Millar of the Sons of Confederate Veterans said his group is very disappointed regarding the outcome of the case, but acknowledged they always knew that the Supreme Court taking the case was a long shot.

He said there would be other legal avenues available to the group and that it would evaluate its options. He confirmed that there had been some discussion with Memphis Greenspace about getting the statues.