Greenspace asks for governor’s help relocating Confederate statues

The statues of Nathan Bedford Forrest (left) and Jefferson Davis were removed from two public parks in Memphis in December 2017.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The company that owns two bronze Confederate statues removed from Memphis city parks is asking for the governor’s help finding a new home for the monuments.

Memphis Greenspace Inc. sent a letter to Gov. Bill Haslam on Tuesday. The group says it is working on a request for proposals from groups interested in the statues.

“Once responses are received, we ask for your help evaluating the proposals and determining the best course of action,” the letter states.

The City of Memphis transferred ownership of the former Forrest Park and Confederate Park to the private group last December to get around a state law that had prevented the city from removing statues of Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest and Confederate President Jefferson Davis from city property. The city wanted to get them removed before the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s assassination in April.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans filed suit against the city for that action, but a Davidson County chancellor ruled it was legal. The group said Thursday it is preparing to appeal.

The 12-foot-tall Forrest statue is 10,500 pounds feet of solid bronze with a seven-foot marble base. The Forrest statue is 8 feet tall with an unknown weight.

Greenspace says the statues are undamaged and safely stored, and that the graves of Forrest and his wife under the monument are undisturbed.

The request for proposals specifies that the statues must go to a certified nonprofit group that will allow public access to the statues for at least 25 years.