Memphis City Council chairman Myron Lowery will ask for a vote next week to remove the statue and gravesite of Nathan Bedford Forrest from Health Sciences Park.
Lowery said he has directed city council attorney Allan Wade to draft an ordinance that would remove the statue and the remains of Forrest and his wife. Lowery said he expects the proposal to be heard in committee on Tuesday, July 7.
“Because of the importance of this issue, I am asking every member of the council to join in co-sponsoring this ordinance,” Lowery wrote to council members Wednesday.
Wade’s ordinance reads liks this:
“Ordinance to transfer ownership of the equestrian statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest and to remove and relocate said statue from the City of Memphis’ Health Sciences Park pursuant to Section 579.1 of the Charter and subject to the provisions of Tennessee Code Annotated Section 4-1-412 (c) and to ratify the February 3, 2013 Memphis City Council Resolution naming Health Sciences Park, Memphis Park and Mississippi River Park.”
Lowery said members of the Shelby County Commission have expressed interest in passing a resolution supporting this proposal.
The move comes nearly a week after Memphis Mayor A C Wharton
called for the statue and remains to be moved form the park. That call came after race-fueled murders in a Charleston, S.C. church nearly two weeks ago.
“We are simply saying that there might be a more appropriate place,” said Wharton. “In the case of the flag, put it in a museum. Don’t put it out in common places.
“You see, we all have to drive down Union Avenue. It’s a common, unavoidable place. If someone wishes to see that, then go over to the cemetery in the peace of solitude, tranquility, and reverence and do it there. What Americans would say, I’d like to have a picnic in the shadow Bedford Forrest?”