VOL. 133 | NO. 106 | Monday, May 28, 2018
Draft Prohibits Removed Confederate Monuments to be Relocated in Shelby County
By Bill Dries
The private nonprofit corporation that had Confederate monuments removed from two city parks last December wants to transfer the statues to a nonprofit that will relocate them somewhere outside Shelby County.
That is among the suggested conditions in a request for proposal Memphis Greenspace Inc. is preparing once litigation over the matter ends. The monuments in question include Confederate president Jefferson Davis and Confederate general, slave trader and Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard Nathan Bedford Forrest, both of which were moved to secret location.
“Statue must remain in the new location for a period of not less than 25 years before it can be relocated again,” reads a draft of the RFP sent Thursday, May 25, in a letter to Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam by Greenspace president Van Turner. “Statue cannot be relocated to Shelby County, whether on public or private property, at any time, and such restriction will be contractual and binding.”
Memphis Greenspace bought Health Science and Memphis parks from the city of Memphis for $1,000 each in December and had the monuments in those parks removed.
Davidson County Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle ruled May 16 that the sale of the parks and the removal of the monuments was legal. The Sons of Confederate Veterans and descendants of Forrest, the plaintiffs in the civil lawsuit, have filed a notice of appeal and Lyle has stayed her order pending the appeal.
Greenspace wants the state’s help in evaluating offers for the monuments and making a decision on who should get them, according to Turner’s letter to Haslam.
Other qualifications in the draft RFP include:
•Public access to the statues is a requirement.
•Removing the pedestals the Davis and Forrest statues once stood on, which currently remain in the parks
•The new owners pay all costs for relocation of the statues and pedestals and restoration of parkland after the pedestals are removed.
•Greenspace also wants to know why an organization wants to take ownership and evidence of community support for the organization.
Turner’s letter to Haslam states the Forrest and Davis monuments remain stored at an undisclosed location and have not been damaged.
Turner reiterated that Greenspace has no plans to move the graves of Forrest and his wife that are at the base of the pedestal in Health Sciences Park.
“Let me assure you the graves have and will remain untouched absent the descendants’ request to have the remains relocated,” Turner wrote Haslam.