That's some post Mr Spain, if the South had your thumb endurance we'd still have space slavery today. Sad.
Most people find the statue offensive because they've been misinformed for years by the media, or they don't know the full story. The story of Forrest becoming a Christian, having a change of heart, and dedicating his later years to repairing race relations in the South.
Forrest's speech to the Independent Order of Pole-Bearers Association July 5, 1875.
A convention and BBQ was held by the Independent Order of Pole-Bearers Association at the fairgrounds of Memphis, five miles east of the city. An invitation to speak was conveyed to General Nathan Bedford Forrest, one of the city's most prominent citizens, and one of the foremost cavalry commanders in the late War Between the States. This was the first invitation granted to a white man to speak at this gathering. The invitation's purpose, one of the leaders said, was to extend peace, joy, and union, and following a brief welcoming address a Miss Lou Lewis, daughter of an officer of the Pole-Bearers, brought forward flowers and assurances that she conveyed them as a token of good will. After Miss Lewis handed him the flowers, General Forrest responded with a short speech that, in the contemporary pages of the Memphis Appeal, evinces Forrest's racial open-mindedness that seemed to have been growing in him.
"Ladies and Gentlemen I accept the flowers as a memento of reconciliation between the white and colored races of the southern states. I accept it more particularly as it comes from a colored lady, for if there is any one on God's earth who loves the ladies I believe it is myself. ( Immense applause and laughter.) I came here with the jeers of some white people, who think that I am doing wrong. I believe I can exert some influence, and do much to assist the people in strengthening fraternal relations, and shall do all in my power to elevate every man to depress none. (Applause.) I want to elevate you to take positions in law offices, in stores, on farms, and wherever you are capable of going. I have not said anything about politics today. I don't propose to say anything about politics. You have a right to elect whom you please; vote for the man you think best, and I think, when that is done, you and I are freemen. Do as you consider right and honest in electing men for office. I did not come here to make you a long speech, although invited to do so by you. I am not much of a speaker, and my business prevented me from preparing myself. I came to meet you as friends, and welcome you to the white people. I want you to come nearer to us. When I can serve you I will do so. We have but one flag, one country; let us stand together. We may differ in color, but not in sentiment Many things have been said about me which are wrong, and which white and black persons here, who stood by me through the war, can contradict. Go to work, be industrious, live honestly and act truly, and when you are oppressed I'll come to your relief. I thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for this opportunity you have afforded me to be with you, and to assure you that I am with you in heart and in hand." (Prolonged applause.)
Whereupon N. B. Forrest again thanked Miss Lewis for the bouquet and then gave her a kiss on the cheek. Such a kiss was unheard of in the society of those days, in 1875, but it showed a token of respect and friendship between the general and the black community and did much to promote harmony among the citizens of Memphis.
Highpoint - I haven't been to Central Park or Grant Park. But comparing Memphis to NYC or Chicago is just ridiculous. A more apt comparison would be to Nashville or St Louis, or hell, just about any other city in the country.
It really doesn't matter how physically fit a person is, they're not going to walk or bike from East Memphis (I won't even bike from Midtown) or beyond to get Downtown. It's exhausting and unsafe.
(by the way, I've been to awesome parks in Nashville and St. Louis that had lots of parking)
I agree that better mass transit is the best solution for the growth of the riverfront and downtown memphis as a whole.
However, thanks to bitter old racists who somehow are still offended by the bus strike during the Civil Rights Era, public transit funding is dead in the water.
The trolleys were always a shake to piss a perfectly well funded light rail system down the drain, just to spite the federal funds that sent that pork down the barrel.
Until we get these old bastards with old grudges against Memphis out of power, they'll continue sabotaging us at every turn.
I'm just glad Loeb hasn't infected downtown yet. Hopefully they never will.
A map or two would have been helpful. When you're talking about Memphis Park, Mississippi River Park, Fourth Bluff, etc, I get a little lost. It would have been nice to have a little point of reference.
Lovebc you do understand why most people find it offensive?
Got to agree with moverhill on this one,
I am big fan of the modernist movement and contemporary architecture- done well- can provide a much-needed spark for a street and neighborhood. However, in this case... I dont know whether it is the half-step upgrade from CMU on the facades of maybe its the relative lack of transparency, but the buildings materials and use thereof is uninviting and says look at me, another squat beige building on Union. In that case, I guess it is more like "nothing to see here". If I want uninviting and/or border line brutalist buildings, I will hang out in the Medical District. Its also not a good sign when you are using ivy to cover up parts of an elevation before the building has even been built. Even glorified strip retail centers deserve more.
Crackoamerica, We are long past free, I would like for the city of Memphis to open its books so we can find out how much as spent already on this non-issue, especially the legal fees paid to Mr. Wade. This whole Orwellian controversy was drummed up by city management to divert us from the real issues of Memphis, the biggies being the out of control murder rate, sub-standard but well-funded public education, black on black crime, and the lack of well paying jobs.
Let's pull the plug on the drama and use the money to hire some more police officers.
Highpoint, while I strongly agree that it's great to encourage folks to walk or bike, I question whether cutting back on parking would be a step in the direction of making the riverfront a playground largely limited to downtown residents who, as a group, are probably considerably whiter and more affluent than the city as a whole. Also, the comparison to Central Park in NYC and Grant Park in Chicago is imperfect because, much unlike Memphis, NYC and Chicago have relatively good mass transit systems that citizens from all corners can use to visit Central and Grant parks any day of the week. In Memphis, if you happen to live in Frayser, Westwood or Hickory Hill, good luck using MATA to visit the riverfront on a Sunday afternoon.
Parking is exactly what they dont need. Parking in Tom Lee is exactly whats hurting the park now. On the weekends its a bunch idiots that park just to show of their cars and loud motorcycles. There should only be parking for handicap and school buses.
Do you notice any parking lots in Central Park NYC, Grant Park Chicago or any other urban park in a major city? Walk or bike you fat, lazy people!
I've always said that if the city wanted to be petty, they would just plant some large, thick shrubs all around the statue. That, or they'd build a structure that goes over the statue, just covering it up.
At the very least, it would force the state to write a new law about clearances that between statues and other objects, which would probably force a lot of cities to spend money clearing the area around their statues.
If nothing else, it would be fun to watch the state react when the city of Memphis builds a large box type structure over top of the statue. Be petty. That's what I'm encouraging. Make it some good political theater for me.
@greg. Sorry to hear your google is broken.
This is one of thousands of links.
It does an effective job of covering the bases and support. I encourage you to read the whole thin
Fascinating points, but could somebody tell me just who this Forrest fellow was and just where is this Memphis you speak of?
Can somebody please tell me where I can find evidence that General Forrest was ever even in the Klan? I've looked and have found nothing. There's a court case were they federal government claimed he was a member but the government lost the case for lack of evidence. Forrest himself always maintained he was never a member. Forrest was also brought up on charges by the reconstruction government for providing money to black men to buy GUNS to protect themselves from lawlessness and he was known to support blacks advancing into an Intergrated society not to mention he participated in one of the first documented interracial kisses. But I haven't been able to find any documentation of actual klan membership. Can someone point me in the right direction?
I prefer that we keep the "grit and grind" third world appearance throughout the city therefore I am opposed to any "modern" looking buildings.
I keep hearing this "majority" of the city that wants this. Where are they? The majority of people in Memphis don't really give a crap one way or the other.
I personally think it's a ridiculous waste of money on the city's part. While the City Council have spent millions tying this matter up in court, the city has been falling apart around them. They are short hundreds of Firefighters and police, they are cutting the pay and benefits of those very men and women, cutting critical items from the city budget right and left, and for what? To desecrate the grave of an American Veteran (Public Law 85-425and Public Law 85-811)? To tear down a statue that hurts no one?
Let's not be fooled. Let's consider the real reason this has become an issue. The UT Medical Center desperately wants the land the park sits on to expand their campus. THAT is the reason Forrest Park is in the crosshairs, not some altruistic desire to "do good" by our corrupt City Council.
WAS... Heck he STILL IS, Pete. Still helping out where he can, putting himself out there, day after day, even when some people have nothing kind to say about him. One thing about people who leave a high profile office. They can retreat, and lay back (after all they have earned it) or they can go on doing their thing, but just in a different venue. AC isn't the kind of guy who lays back. I honestly admire both his attitude AND his fortitude.
LoveBC, What statue of a historic/notorious figure would you not want in your neighborhood?
Would you object to neighbors offering to move it for free ( I am sure we could sell tickets to citizens wanting to take a few swings of a sledge or some confederate necromancers from Bugtussle would gladly move it to their local 1st Baptist Church)
Would an accompanying statue of Forrest beating or raping a chained slave be divisive? You can't erase history.
By Toby Sells
download this issue
click here to see more »