Memphis sells city parks, buyer removes Confederate statues

A private group headed by a county commissioner and fueled by anonymous donations bought two parks from the city of Memphis at little cost this week in a maneuver that cleared the way for swift removal of two Confederate statutes that have sparked conflict for years, reports the Associated Press.

Shelby County Commissioner and attorney Van Turner told a news conference Thursday that his group, Memphis Greenspace Inc., is ready for any lawsuits that arise from its deal with the city, which took months of planning to sidestep a Tennessee law that makes it tough to take down Confederate monuments on public grounds.

The law has been criticized by those who say the statues are a reminder of a time when slavery was enforced and bigotry sanctioned in the South. It has been supported by those who say removing the monuments would be like trying to erase history.

Turner said he approached the city attorney with the workaround idea, the group was incorporated in October, and its 501(c)(3) application is still pending.

But Turner said Memphis Greenspace wasn’t formed just to remove the statues of Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest and Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

He said he envisions more Memphis-area parks being transferred to the group so it can raise money to revitalize them. In the meantime, he said, the organization will use the donations it has received to run the two parks it bought.

Crews in Memphis, Tennessee removed statues of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest and Confederate President Jefferson Davis late Wednesday. Mayor Jim Strickland says the statues “no longer represent who we are.”

….The City Council voted unanimously Wednesday to sell the two parks where the statues were located for $1,000 each and crews began working right away at Health Sciences Park to remove the Forrest statue. People cheered as the statue was lifted off its marble base and placed on a flatbed truck.

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