VOL. 133 | NO. 152 | Thursday, August 2, 2018
Civil War Replica Cannons Returned To Sons of Confederate Veterans
By Bill Dries
Memphis Greenspace turned over four cannons from Memphis Park to Sons of Confederate Veterans Wednesday, Aug. 1, as the nonprofit continued the process of removing Confederate symbols and markers from the Downtown park.
Sons of Confederate Veterans leader Lee Millar came to the park Wednesday as private work crews continued the work that began over the weekend with the removal of the pedestal where a statue of Confederacy president Jefferson Davis stood until last December.
“They just wanted the cannons back,” Memphis Greenspace president Van Turner said later of four replica cannons the SCV placed in the park in 2012.
“Based on what we had today we felt comfortable transferring the cannons to the Sons of the Confederate Veterans,” Turner said of paperwork Millar showed him. “And if everything pans out and everything turns out to be legal, we will just make sure that is memorialized with the proper documentation and they will be the new owners of the cannons. However, they won’t be here in the park.”
The Jefferson Davis statue and a bust of Confederate Capt. Harvey Mathes were removed from the park in December along with a statue of Confederate general, slave trader and Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard Nathan Bedford Forrest in Health Sciences Park within hours of the Memphis City Council selling the two parks and the monuments in them to Memphis Greenspace for $1,000 each.
Since the base of the Davis statue was removed over the weekend, work crews have removed a 1909 marker by the Confederate Dames organization with the heading “Confederate History of Memphis.”
Turner said decisions are still being made about other markers including one on the naval gunboat battle on the Mississippi River in 1862 that took place within view of what later became the park.
“Right now we are working that process out. … The whole goal is to make sure all of the Confederate memorabilia is relocated,” he said. “This is a clear and clean canvas now. And we want Memphians to paint the picture. … The goal was to give the park back to the people – to the citizens. That’s what we are doing. Hopefully we will get some good suggestions and follow those suggestions accordingly.”