Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Forest Statue Removal Won't Get Vote Until October

Posted By on Tue, Jun 21, 2016 at 10:54 AM

Nathan Bedford Forrest as he appears in Health Sciences Park. - JUSTIN FOX BURKS
  • Justin Fox Burks
  • Nathan Bedford Forrest as he appears in Health Sciences Park.
The city's case for removing of the statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest from Health Sciences Park won't get another chance to be heard by state officials until late October. 

The Tennessee Historical Commission (THC) was set to review the city's request for removal on Friday in Jackson. But city council attorney Allan Wade asked for the vote to be delayed and THC executive director Patrick McIntyre said the item has, indeed, been removed from Friday's agenda.

Wade said he needed more time on the matter "due to our involvement in a pending case for the city which may not be conclude by Friday." Wade asked for the matter to be moved to the next meeting of the THC, which will be on Friday, Oct. 21 in Gatlinburg, according to McIntyre.

The 29-member board meets once every four months.

The city's application to the THC says the 9,500-pound statue was erected as an "unconditional gift" to the city. The request is to relocate the statue to a "more suitable location" preferably in Tennessee or "alternatively to a location at which General Forrest achieved one of his impressive victories," noting that Savannah, Tenn. has expressed interest for the statue for nearby Shiloh National Military Park.

The application says the National Civil War Trust is also considering a proposal to relocate the statue to Brice's Crossroad National Battlefield site near Baldwyn, Miss.

"Both locations are far more suitable locations than the present site," the application says. "Although the statue was not dedicated as a civil war memorial; the relocation of the statue honoring one of the war's significant participants to a location providing more historical context would be the best site for the monument."

The Memphis City Council voted to remove the statue in August last year. The ordinance for removal said the erection of the statue "was a political decision by the council [in 1905] made at the the urging of Confederate Monument Societies."

The ordinance said the statue is "unfit for service or use by the city" as it is inconsistent with the Medical District Overlay. The ordinance called for the "immediate removal" of the statue.   

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