The Memphis City Council passed a plan to dig up the bodies Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest and his wife, AND move the statute that currently occupies a place of prominence in downtown Memphis. Many citizens are standing against the plan. But is it just anti-confederate hysteria? Or are they moving the statue because of a construction project?
City Council members in any city across the country are privy to information that their constituents are not. They know, for example, where shopping malls, new highways, or college campuses want to expand. The question has been raised about Memphis, Tennessee’s council decision to remove the bodies of Confederate General Nathan Forrest Bedford (and his wife) – is the council just participating in the current hysteria or do they know something about the land that statue and graves sit on?
University of Tennessee Medical – money money money
Memphis city council member Janis Fullilove asked if the removal has something to do with a rumored ‘$500 million [University of Tennessee] expansion’ that would use the land where General Forrest is currently buried. And she’s right, but it’s not a rumor- they plan to do expansions of the UT facilities, particularly the University of Tennessee Health Sciences.
They are planning expansions in Memphis, Nashville, and Knoxville. The University has plans for at a minimum of $300 Million expansion for the Memphis campus. The statue occupies a portion of land near the University Medical campus. It’s not about the hysteria, it’s about the bucks.
Memphis has more to worry about than a statue
Memphis, Tennessee used to be an ordinary city in the Bible Belt. It was a mix of both black and white. But one resident who lived there, said that as soon as this new Mayor, A.C. Wharton, came on board in 2009, he addressed the white population of the city and told them if they didn’t like what he did, they could leave. Many of them did, moving out of the main city into other areas.
The result has been a rising violent crime rate. The Memphis Metro area is ranked number 1 as the most dangerous area of the South. According to Law Street Media, Memphis is the 3rd most dangerous city in America, moving upward from its #4 ranking last year. They write,
#3 MEMPHIS, TENNESSEE
Memphis took over St. Louis’ position as the #3 Most Dangerous City in America, rising up one place from #4 last year…The city had 124 murders, 437 rapes, 3,133 robberies, and 7,200 aggravated assaults.
The legal issue
The Memphis City Council has some serious legal issues they apparently are ignoring – moving the statues, digging up Confederate soldiers and their wives is forbidden in Tennessee laws. The Tennessee Heritage Protection Act of 2013 states:
(1) No statue, monument, memorial, nameplate, or plaque which has been erected for, or named or dedicated in honor of, the French and Indian War, American Revolution, War of 1812, U.S.-Mexican War, the War Between the States, Spanish American War, the Mexican border period, World War I, World War II, the Korean conflict, the Vietnam War, Operation Urgent Fury (Grenada), Operation El Dorado Canyon (Libya), Operation Just Cause (Panama), Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm (Persian Gulf War 1), Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan), and Operation Iraqi Freedom (Persian Gulf War II), and is located on public property, may be relocated, removed, altered, renamed, rededicated, or otherwise disturbed.
(2) No statue, monument, memorial, nameplate, plaque, historic flag display, school, street, bridge, building, park, preserve, or reserve which has been erected for, or named or dedicated in honor of, any historical military figure, historical military event, military organization, or military unit, and is located on public property, may be renamed or rededicated.
Nathan Bedford Forrest – Desecration of the graves of veterans
As the Memphis Council readied their passage of the egregious action to dig up Confederate Veterans, H.K. Edgerton and his brother, along with other black leaders, stood before the council and spoke about the true history of General Forrest…and it wasn’t what the media would have you believe.
But the council ignored him.
Mr. Edgerton is a descendant of those blacks who fought in the Civil War on the side of the Confederacy with General Forrest – he is a member of the “Sons of Confederate Veterans” and is proud of it. He is knowledgeable…the Memphis Council is not. They will stand accountable one day.
Here are some facts about the General that you probably do not know:
1. He did NOT start the Ku Klux Klan. Though that lie has been perpetuated for a century, it has no basis in actual fact. In 1871, Congress itself exonerated General Forrest of having anything to do with the Klan. He understood that his name was being used, and demanded that the KKK disband. He also challenged one of the liars to a duel to defend his name.
2. General Forrest was accused of a “massacre” at Ft. Pillow. This lie was repeated by newspapers in Ohio to gin up support for the war. General Forrest was absolved completely from any wrong-doing by Congress; and General WT Sherman admitted that the General had done nothing wrong. General Forrest wrote the Union General Washburn who was in charge of Memphis, and demanded that he have the lies retracted.
3. General Forrest had one of his servants, Napoleon Winbush, serve as Chaplain for his troops. The Union Army would never have allowed such a thing. Chaplain Winbush’s grandson is a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans to honor the service of his grandfather to the Confederacy.
4. General Forrest enlisted 45 of his own servants to fight with him, and freed them 18 mos before the war was over because he was afraid he would be killed in battle and wanted to make sure they were free. Of the 45, 44 of them stayed with him.
Desecration of history, desecration of graves, the continual kindling of War
Desecrating the bodies of Confederate soldiers, the attempts to erase all mention of the past, these are actions that will destroy the very fabric of America. From calls for the tearing down of monuments, to the desecration of Confederate graves, we are simply refighting the Civil War over and over again.
“Neither blacks nor whites will be better off if that happens. With all the very real problems in this society, can we really spare the time and the wasted energy of trying to refight a Civil War that ended before our great-grandparents were born?
The past is irrevocable. We cannot change the smallest detail of what some people did to other people after both have gone to their graves.” Thomas Sowell