A group of protesters begin digging up the grave of Confederate Lieutenant General and (alleged?) KKK founder Nathan Bedford Forrest. City officials have been trying to have the remains moved and campaigners are claiming it’s taking too long.
Forrest, later in life, denied any and all allegations to ties with the KKK.
They’ve dug up a patch and are threatening to go deeper unless the city moves on it asap.
Members of the protest group, who call themselves the Commission on Religion and Racism, removed only a small patch of grass from the park, but threatened to return with heavy machinery to tear down the wartime symbol.
‘We are going to bring the back hoe, the tractors and the men with the equipment to raise Bedford Forrest from the soil of Memphis.’
As reported by DailyMail:
The move outraged a spokesman for Forrest’s family, who said the act was vandalism and that the protesters had broken the law.
One man even drove some 270 miles to replace the turf after being dismayed by footage of the digging.
The Memphis city council has already approved a resolution to remove the statue and dig up the body, which was moved to the park from a private cemetery in 1904.
However, a recent state heritage law prevents any more memorials to historical figures from the Civil War from being renamed without approval from a government commission, which could prevent the statue from being moved.
Forrest, a lieutenant general in the Confederate States Army, has memorials in his name across Tennessee, including a bust in the state capitol, a high school and a building at Middle Tennessee State University.
The park in which he is buried was also called Forrest Park until it was renamed in February 2013.
Forrest is thought to have been the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, which was formed after the Confederate surrender in 1865.
In later life, he denied all membership of the organization but has still been heavily associated with it.