Thomas R. Machnitzki/Wikimedia Commons
Evicted: the Statue of Forrest
The Southern Poverty Law center reports
that a Ku Klux Klan faction based in Harrison
has offered to pay to move the remains of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest
— who served as the first Grand Wizard of the KKK — from a Memphis park to property the group owns in Harrison.
Thomas Robb, leader of the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, issued a press release earlier this week saying that the group wants to move the remains of Forrest, his wife Mary Ann, and a large bronze statute of the general, mounted on horseback, to the group's "Christian Revival Center" in Boone County.
The remains of Forrest and his wife are currently buried beneath the statue in Memphis' Health Sciences Park, which is part of the University of Tennessee Health Science Center campus. The park had previously been named Forrest Park since 1904, the year Forrest and his wife were exhumed from the city's Elmwood Cemetery and reburied in the park. The park was renamed in 2013 as part of a city effort that removed Confederate-affiliated names from three public parks.
Last month, the Memphis City Council voted unanimously to exhume the remains of the Forrests and return them to Elmwood Cemetery. That move will have to be approved by the Tennessee Historical Commission in October. Last week, vandals spray painted the phrase "Black Lives Matter" onto the base of the Forrest statue.
KKK leader Thomas Robb said in a press release: “While the remains of Forrest and his wife will be moved to their original burial ground, there is fear that the grave will remain unsecure and under constant threat of desecration. Therefore, [I am] requesting that the remains be placed at the Christian Revival Center church where they will be undisturbed."