Letters to the Editor

Parks Controversy

To the Editor:

The Flyer's coverage of the parks and monuments controversy has been commendable, starting with Mary Cashiola's initial article on H.K. Edgerton's visit to town a few weeks ago (June 16th issue). Thanks in large part to her article, many people discovered there are black Confederates. John Branston also offered sane and sensible comments in the July 28th issue, although I disagree with him about paring down and dividing Forrest Park.

Your editorial, "Don't Hide Our Past" (July 28th issue), was also right on the mark. The necro-terrorism proposed by Walter Bailey and Karl Schledwitz would be violently opposed if the grave desecration was aimed at dead black or Jewish heroes.

As a young man, I was troubled about the negative aspects of the Confederacy and understood why some would oppose it. But after exhaustive research into primary sources, I found the issues and people of the Civil War era to be grossly distorted and maligned by contemporary malcontents who employ misinformation and distortion to further their careers by fomenting racial strife with bogus issues.

Thanks for the clear insights.

Jimmy Love


To the Editor:

I am astonished at the shallowness of the Flyer's editorial on the naming of several Memphis parks. We name parks and erect statues to honor individuals and events we admire and wish to praise, not simply because they are "an indelible part of our history." James Earl Ray is also an indelible part of our history, but we're not naming a park after him.

Nathan Bedford Forrest was a racist and a slave trader whose most memorable contribution to Memphis was that he chased General Washburn in his skivvies to the river. Jefferson Davis actually was charged and convicted of treason, so I don't know what more you need to be considered a traitor. His main contribution to local history was that he was president of a Memphis insurance company that went bankrupt. My standards for heroism are higher.

How about the African-American troops that maintained order in a collapsing Memphis during the epidemics of the late 19th century, when most white folks high-tailed it out of town? Where is their monument or park?

If the Sons of Confederate Veterans are able to make a major issue out of their adulation of the Civil War, it will only be because Memphians are not ready to remember these Southern "heroes" for the kind of men they really were. We don't learn anything from fatuous hero-worship, but we can do so from looking at the truth.

John Korchok


Wrong State

To the Editor:

Regarding John Lowe's letter to the editor (July 28th issue): I agree that street performers are a part of Memphis and should be allowed to perform on Beale Street. However, Mt. Rushmore is in South Dakota, not North Dakota.

George Pack


Mad Over Makeover

To the Editor:

Mary Cashiola's "Memphis Makeover" article ("In the Bluff," July 21st issue) doesn't answer even basic questions. For example, what is the Memphis Regional Chamber? Is it a city agency? And exactly who is this alleged image expert Melissa Rivers? Are Memphis taxpayers paying for her abuse?

Rivers lays the blame for Memphis' problems on people "clinging to cotton and Elvis." What on earth does Elvis have to do with our image problem? Rivers never mentions government waste and corruption so serious that state officials have to launch a sting operation to begin to bring corrupt politicians to justice. She doesn't mention our empty Pyramid and the empty Madison Avenue trolley, both taxpayer sinkholes. She doesn't mention our arrogant mayor, our corrupt City Council, and the massive tax giveaways to the Grizzlies.

She also doesn't mention that our city leaders would rather rename Confederate parks instead of dealing with any of these problems. Instead, let's blame Elvis. Our real image problem is with a man who died 30 years ago. How obvious.

I think it's time to move to DeSoto County.

Howard Wiggins


The Weekly Smackdown

To the Editor:

One of my favorite features of the Flyer is the almost weekly Wendi Thomas smackdown. Keep it up. Somebody needs to provide some perspective on her rants.

Nolan Rhem


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