Angry Mayor Responds to Critics on Statue Removal

Strickland defends record on minority issues and says that criticism is "an attempt to divide this city."

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Mayor Strickland
  • Mayor Strickland

 Mayor Jim Strickland, who is on record as favoring the removal of the Jefferson David statue and Nathan Bedford Forrest statue and grave from downtown parks but is restrained by state law from direct action without going through channels, is under pressure from citizens who want the memorials gone now.

And the Mayor is fuming at what he regards as insults from some of the more demanding and impatient of those citizens. Responding Monday morning to a Commercial Appeal article, Strickland posted a response on his Facebook page:

I want every Memphian to read this article.

I want every Memphian to see the divisive, empty rhetoric that the media chooses to highlight. I want every Memphian to see the absurdity of someone accusing a mayor who is actually working on removing Confederate statues as being an apologist for white supremacists.

Think about that for a minute. I want every Memphian to know what I have been doing. I am a life member of the NAACP. I’ve volunteered to feed the homeless for 30 years. I mentor a kid. My administration has improved our minority business performance by 69 percent. My administration has improved opportunities for young people. My administration has connected people to jobs. My administration is working to reduce crime.

And my administration has worked to find a lawful method to remove these statues, which have no place in our city. My administration is the only one in the history of Memphis to not only vote to remove these statues — but to take real action to do it. We don’t see interviews with members of the legislature, or members of the Tennessee Historical Commission, or our partners working to find a real solution.

We do, however, see people criticize the very mayor who is on their side.

To make the statements made in this article is insulting to the hard work of our staff and is an affront to all of our citizens. The comments in this article are a lie at best. At worst, they are an attempt to divide this city with the kind of racial politics that we should all reject."


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