Park Naming Controversy, Moves to State Level

(Memphis) Councilman Lee Harris is setting up for a showdown with state lawmakers who are trying to make it illegal to change the name of statue, monument, or park named after someone who fought in a war.

“This is directly in response to what we’re trying to do in Memphis”, said Harris.

A park in the medical district is named after Nathan Bedford Forrest, a former General in the Civil War and grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.

He’s front and center in this park and city leaders want to rename it after someone who unified not divided the races.

“We’re trying to move Memphis forward, and they want it to stay where it is”, added Harris.

Forrest supporters point to his speech before the all black “Jubilee of Pole Bearers” in Memphis in 1875 where he spoke of putting black citizens into jobs at law offices, stores and farms and gave a black woman a kiss on the cheek, which was forbidden back then.

State representative Steve McDaniel and Senator Bill Ketron are behind the new rules which would keep this park just the way it is.

Ketron has raised eyebrows before, sponsoring bills to have Tennessee create its own money when the United States tanks financially. 

He sponsored another to force presidential candidates to prove they were born in the United States.

Neither men immediately returned requests for comment.

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