Roughly 50 more Memphians followed last night at Bruce Elementary School, in the first public meeting of Memphians for Removal of Confederate Monuments, speaking in favor of removing Memphis monuments to former Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest. They spoke beneath a pre-existing, hand-colored banner proclaiming “We Are Conquerors,” an apparently unconnected piece of school paraphernalia. Perhaps it will prove prophetic.
There were others who referenced their own familial connections to the Civil War and antebellum South. One middle-aged man described himself as a descendant of both slave and slave owner, and apologized that his generation didn’t move to take down the monuments.
Another talked about having family descended from Forrest, having the monument pointed out with pride as a child, and coming as an adult to support its removal.
“When I was little, I used to play in Forrest Park,” a young black man remembered. “I thought he must have been a great guy.” Why else would the city erect a giant statue to him, after all?
The Commercial Appeal
Wednesday, June 21, 2017