Remains Of Confederate General And His Wife Now Being Removed From Tennessee Public Park
Work is now underway to remove the remains of a Confederate General and his wife from a park in Memphis, Tennessee.
Workers have now begun exhuming the remains of General Nathan Bedford Forrest and his wife Mary Ann, after which they will transport them to the National Confederate Museum at Elm Springs in Columbia, Tennessee, some 200 miles away from the park that used to bear Forrest’s name.
The park, now named Health Sciences Park, also used to feature a statue of Forrest atop a horse in his memory. However, this was removed back in 2017 during a nationwide effort to remove Confederate monuments.
In his lifetime, Forrest sold enslaved people in Memphis and is also known to have been one of the early leaders of the Ku Klux Klan. His critics regard him to have been a violent racist.
A powerful cavalry general, in April 1864, Forrest’s troops attacked Fort Pillow in north-west Tennessee, killing between 200 and 300 Union soldiers, the majority of whom were Black. As reported by The Guardian, northern newspaper reports at the time described the killing as ‘an atrocity’.
An affidavit from Bedford Forrest Myers, Forrest’s great-great-grandson, detailed the plans to remove the remains.
Myers has also expressed his support for this move, writing:
Relocating the graves is proper because the Property has lost its character as a burial ground.
There have been many protests at Forrest’s burial site over the years, with activists having long called for the remains to be removed. The words ‘Black Lives Matter’ can be seen painted on a walkway surrounding the grave.
As reported by CNN, the decision to move the bodies was decided last year after the Sons of Confederate Veterans, a nonprofit organisation made up of male descendants of Confederate veterans, agreed it would drop a pending lawsuit against the owners of the park.
Lee Millar, a Sons of Confederate Veterans spokesperson and fifth cousin of Forrest, told CNN that the disinterment began on the morning of Tuesday June 1, with the work paid for by the Sons of the Confederate Veterans.
Forrest and his wife have been interred at the park for more than a century, and it’s understood that this will be a complex procedure. It’s expected that the process will take around three weeks to complete.
Featured Image Credit: PA Images
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