A group pushing for the removal of the city’s Confederate statues by the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. is asking Memphians to wear black and gather at FedFex Forum Plaza Friday evening.
The Tennessee Historical Commission basically punted on a decision that would allow Memphis officials to remove a statue of slave trader and KKK founder Natan Bedford Forrest from a city park. They voted down the original waiver from the city but approved its move to get a declaratory order from an administrative law judge in November.
A letter from Memphians for Removal of Confederate Statues (MRCS) quickly followed the decision. In it, the group said the statues were erected to “tear down and intimidate African American buy building up those who fought for their enslavement."
“The Tennessee Historical Commission continues to obstruct efforts to remove the statues,” reads the letter. “We must not allow their delays and deflections to paralyze our need to take the statues down.”
The letter came with an invitation showing the Memphis statue of Forrest in a pointed, white KKK hood.
“Wear black,” reads the invitation, at the FedEx Forum Entrance Plaza at 5:30 p.m.
“Join us, Memphis, in our call for the city to take an immediate step — oner that other cities have taken as they worked toward removal,” reads the MRCS letter. “Cover both statues. Cover these icons of hate so that they no longer stare us down as we live our lives.”
The Memphis Grizzlies are scheduled to play the New Orleans Pelicans at FedEx Forum Friday at 7: 30 p.m.