More than 150 faith leaders from around the city signed a letter sent to the Tennessee Historical Commission (THC) Wednesday in support of removing the Nathan Bedford Forrest statue from Health Sciences Park downtown.
The leaders, "Memphis clergy white and black, young and old, Christian and Jew, transcending every political party," represent close to 90 congregations and institutions in the city and surrounding areas.
The letter they signed says in part: "Many have voiced concerns that this statue does not convey the complete story of our city’s rich history and could better serve the pursuit of understanding and educating the public as well as future generations in a more historically appropriate site."
It concludes, "we strongly urge you to grant Mayor Jim Strickland’s request for a waiver to relocate the statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest that stands in the heart of our city."
The full version of the letter and all of its signatories can be seen here
This comes as the city is working to have the waiver for the Forrest statue's removal heard at the THC's Oct. 13 meeting. If heard, it would need a simple majority to be approved.
Meanwhile, the city is also preparing a waiver request for the Jefferson Davis statue in Memphis Park. Because this waiver request would fall under an updated version of the Tennessee Heritage Protection Act, it would require a super majority, or two-thirds of the votes to pass.