(Memphis) The $10,000 marker for Confederate General and Ku Klux Klan’s first Grand Wizard may end up back at Forrest Park after all. The city removed it because the proper paperwork wasn’t completed. The city now says they can put it back however there is a “but”.
Mayor AC Wharton says, “They have to go through the process. That's the critical issue here.”
Wharton says the Forrest Park marker can go back but first it must be approved by the right agency, the Downtown Memphis Commission. He said before the concrete Tigers were placed in parks the University of Memphis went through the same process.
“They didn't just go out there and stick a tiger in the park. They went through the process so the reason I'm not going to say yes or no now is because I don't want to steer anybody at the Downtown Memphis Commission. I want them to be open-minded when it comes to them,” said Wharton.
Leader of the Sons of Confederacy, Lee Millar, said, “Our position is we've done everything that we've needed to do.”
Millar admits the original complaint to the city about the marker likely came because it honors a controversial figure, Nathan Bedford Forrest, the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. However, Millar says the city of Memphis CAO, George Little, had no right to pull it up. He showed News Channel 3 a chain of emails between him and the parks division and a letter from the former director approving the granite marker.
“Going through the park commission which oversees the park, that was a city agency and they're certainly not subservient to the DNC, so there was no need to go through the Downtown Memphis Commission for a sign,” said Millar.
Millar says the Downtown Memphis Commission is in charge of business signs not parks.
“We've turned the appropriate documents over to the city attorney and hopefully he will meet with Mr. Little and explain to him that park services controls the park and gave permission for the sign so it should be returned,” said Millar.
Millar is still waiting to hear from City of Memphis CAO, George Little.