Nathan Bedford Forrest Park

Nathan Bedford Forrest was a Confederate General, a slave trader, and an early member and the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. Despite his tainted past, he is widely revered among niche groups for his military accomplishments. In downtown Memphis stands the Nathan Bedford Forrest Park. It contains a statue of Forrest himself, and he and his wife are buried there.

In July of 2015, the Memphis City Council voted to remove his statue.

This proved to be one of the most divisive decisions made in recent Memphis history, inciting a reaction from the current members of the Ku Klux Klan and Memphis gang members.

This VICE documentary about this issue gives a general summary of the issue itself and the parties involved:

(Watch the full documentary here.)

The park is still home to Forrest’s statue, but it is now instead named Health Sciences Park.

This change represents a progression to more awareness and understanding about southern history. The continued commemoration of someone who was and is known for his involvement in a violent terrorist organization is a blatant disrespect and disregard for the people who upheld Memphis throughout its years: African Americans.

The aim is not to change history but to honor the parts that ought to be honored and learn from those that should not be.

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