Commission rejects move of Confederate statue from park

AP News
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Posted: Oct 21, 2016 4:23 PM

GATLINBURG, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Historical Commission is blocking a plan by Memphis city leaders to move a statue honoring a Confederate general and early Ku Klux Klan leader out of the downtown area.

The Knoxville News Sentinel reports (http://bit.ly/2dVcIM7 ) the commission denied an application to waive criteria for the statue's removal under the Tennessee Heritage Protection Act, which bars removing or disturbing war memorials on public property.

The Memphis City Council voted in August 2015 to relocate the statue and move the buried remains of Nathan Bedford Forrest and his wife from a park near downtown Memphis. The vote came during a national wave of efforts to remove symbols of the Confederacy from public spaces following the slayings of nine black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina.

A man charged with murder in the killings was found to have posed in a photo with a Confederate flag.

Memphis city attorney Allan Wade, who filed the waiver with the commission, sought to have the statue relocated to a "more suitable location."

The city needs support from the Forrest family and approval from the Chancery Court to move the bodies of Forrest and his wife to a cemetery. It wasn't clear if city officials had moved forward with those requests, or if it planned to request a waiver again the next time the commission meets, in February.

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Information from: Knoxville News Sentinel, http://www.knoxnews.com