Memphis City Council Would Rather Focus on the Civil War Than Its Current Problems

AP Photo/Adrian Sainz, File
AP Photo/Adrian Sainz, File

On July 7, the Memphis City Council voted unanimously to exhume the body of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest from its 110 year resting place and move it to another location. This action, coming on the heels of removing confederate flags from retailers, TV shows and of course the South Carolina capital, demonstrates the lack of real problem solving going on in the liberal community.

Memphis, the third most crime ridden city in the country with failing schools and financial problems, found it necessary to make a statement about a long dead Confederate general through a vote to remove his body and that of his wife from the park. This is the same park that formerly was named for Forrest.

Interestingly, all of this is in juxtaposition to a Tennessee law passed in 1971 which declares the governor has a “duty” to annually proclaim six official “days of special observance” honoring legislatively-chosen historical figures on their birthdays. For General Nathan Bedford Forrest, that day is July 12 each year.

Turning back to Memphis City Council’s vote, there are several problems with this effort. First, the family of Forrest must agree to the exhumation. At this writing, they are opposed to his removal and reburial. Originally buried in Elmwood Cemetery in Memphis, Forrest’s remains were moved to the downtown site in 1905 to coincide with the building of the statute, according to several media reports. Elmwood Cemetery has agreed to take back the remains, but it won’t take the statue.

Second, the council must pass the state’s Historical Commission, which has to approve the removal of the statue from Health Sciences Park. However, this is the same commission which is considering the removal of a four foot bust of the general in the state capital. So it remains to be seen whether this is a major hurdle given the penchant for political correctness sweeping the nation.

Third, the grave is not under the city’s control and requires a court order. That will take some time, but the resolution gives the city council time to research exactly what needs to be done, how much it will cost as well as the process and procedures.

In any event, the ordinance requires three readings and could be approved no sooner than August 4. However, the Sons of Confederate Veterans and Forrest’s descendants will fight the ordinance and the resolution to the very end.  So, after all the flags are taken down, the statues removed and graves exhumed, Memphis must still deal with the current day’s problems of poverty, crime and debt.

General Nathan Bedford Forrest could never have imagined it!

Mark A. Skoda is a founding member of the Reagan Lincoln movement within A Shining City On A Hill.  The organization is made up of self-described conservatives, Tea Party activists, Independents, Libertarians, disillusioned Democrats, and even traditional Establishment Republicans who are truly oriented in the tradition of Ronald Reagan and Abraham Lincoln.  In addition, he is active in politics on the local and national level advocating for fiscal responsibility and improved government. He has spoken at numerous trade and political events, and provided commentary while appearing on television and radio. Mark has been featured in print nationally and has appeared on CNN, FOX Business, Glenn Beck, CBS, MSNBC, ABC, Associated Press, LA Times; internationally on BBC Radio and TV, NHK Japan, Dutch National TV, Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan, France and Australia.


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