The removal comes amid continuing counts of symbols and statues that critics say honor US racist history.
Plan to move Ku Klux Klan leader’s body from southern United States Park – latest action continuing to count starting with symbols that critics say honor the country’s racist past.
Nathan Bedford Forrest was a leading general in the pro-slavery Confederate Army during the American Civil War և 1867-1869, the first leader of the racist Ku Klux Klan, or “The Great Wizard.”
The remains of Forrest, who died in 1877, have long been commemorated on a pedestal in Memphis Park, Tennessee. The pedestal held the Forrest statue from 1904 to 2017, after it was removed by the park’s nonprofit.
– Price Earle J. Fisher, Ph.D. (@Pastor_Earle) June 1, 2021
The removal of the pedestal began on Tuesday, the first step in dismantling the body of Forrest և his wife, which took place after a long-running “popular movement” by local officials.
The ouster was initially delayed due to opposition from the sons of Confederate veterans, a group of male heirs of Allied soldiers.
Although the group dropped out of the lawsuit last year and agreed to move the remains, tensions remained high on Tuesday, local media reported.
Shelby County Commissioner Tammy Sawyer had a brief altercation with workers on Tuesday as they dumped rubbish on a black Lives Matter sign near the pedestal, local Commercial Appeal reported.
An employee was carrying the Confederate flag, singing the unofficial anthem of the federal states, the country of Dixie, while Sawyer was speaking to reporters.
“We are not a racial America, we are not post-election Memphis, this hatred, this racism, this racism is great,” Sawyer said, referring to the worker, according to an online video.
Controversy over the removal of confederate monuments has been raging in the United States for years as the country explores its complex racial past. The movement has gained a new life new push for racial justice, which took place in 2020 after several high-profile murders by black people by police.
The issue is particularly acute in Memphis, where civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968.
Forrest remains a controversial figure in Southern history, with some citing his Confederate military career.
A slave trader who owned cotton plantations, Forrest troops were accused of executing hundreds of African Union soldiers who surrendered at the Battle of Fort Pilo in 1864.