The remains of Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest are being moved from their gravesite in a popular Memphis park to a new Confederate museum, the latest in ongoing efforts to remove markers in the area honouring the figure.
Forrest and his wife Mary Ann Montgomery remains have been dug up as part of the lefts efforts to remove all markers and monuments to the historic cancelled. The bodies are now being held in an undisclosed location until they can be brought to their new resting place at the Sons of Confederate Veterans’ National Confederate Museum in Columbia, Tennessee.
The Hill previously reported:
The removal process for the remains of Forrest and his wife at Health Sciences Park began earlier this month as part of a court-approved agreement between Memphis Greenspace and the Sons of Confederate Veterans, according to local NBC affiliate WMC.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans have agreed to transport the remains to the group’s National Confederate Museum in Columbia, Tenn., located about 200 miles away from its original location.
Lee Millar, a spokesman for the group and a distant cousin of Forrest, told The Associated Press this week that the remains of Forrest and his wife, Mary Ann Montgomery, are being held at an undisclosed location until they can be brought to the museum.
Millar told the AP, “Memphis is not the town that Forrest grew up in.”
“It’s just deleting his history and forgetting about the past,” he added.
Forrest’s remains are being moved amid a national push to remove markers of former Confederate and Southern leaders who defended the institution of slavery and had other racist ties.
The agreement for the bodies to be exhumed took years of negotiation between Memphis Greenspace, who owns the park, and the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
The park where the Forrest’s were laid to rest was called Forrest Park until a name change in 2013. A statue of him in the park was removed in 2017 after Greenspace bought the park.
The Hill reports that in April, Atlanta’s school board unanimously voted to rename Forrest Hill Academy, named after the Confederate general, to the Hank Aaron New Beginnings Academy.
Forrest, who also served as the first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, made much of his wealth from the slave trade and sold many slaves in the downtown area of Memphis, where residents and tourists alike now come for entertainment and food.
The area where he sold slaves is also a short drive from the Lorraine Motel, where civil rights leader Martin Luther King. Jr. was assassinated in 1968.
Many in Memphis have been successful in their push for markers honouring Forrest to be removed, including at the park where he was buried, which was called Forrest Park until the name was changed in 2013.
A statue of Forrest that was previously held at Health Sciences Park was removed in 2017, along with one of Confederate President Jefferson Davis from Fourth Bluff Park, after the city sold the parks to Greenspace.
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