The statue of what many view as the grand wizard of the once-feared Ku Klux Klan is causing a great divide in Memphis. Nashville’s Metro Council request of hiding the Confederate General’s Statue behind bushes and trees has been denied by the State of Tennessee.
Earlier this month, the Memphis City Council began a long and intricate process that aims to remove the brass statue of the former KKK clan as a result of a nationwide outcry after the Charleston church massacre.
The statue in question depicts Nathan Bedford Forrest, a symbol of slavery and one of the most prominent members of the Ku Klux Klan. He is depicted on horseback, amid 14 Confederate flags. Recent weather has damaged several of the Confederate flags. They are currently taken down for repairs. Back in 1998, when the statue was first erected, the state of Tennessee decided to strip away the vegetation surrounding it so that the statue could become more visible from the interstate.
Ever since being erected, the statue has represented a major controversy source, as well as a target of occasional vandalism.
All over the US, authorities are making efforts to remove public monuments and flags associated with the Confederacy. What’s more, even universities such as Berkeley or Yale are being asked to consider renaming certain campus buildings named after people connected to the Confederacy.
After being asked to use vegetation and trees in order to block the view of the statue, Tennessee Department of Transportation commissioner, John Schroer, explained that the TDOT was not able to plant vegetation just for the aims of blocking the view of certain items.
According to Schroer, just because certain monuments are offensive to some, doesn’t mean that they should be hidden from the view of everyone.
“The request of Metro Nashville’s Council to have TDOT plant vegetation on I-65 near the Harding Place Exit is respectfully denied,” the Department of Transportation wrote.
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