Confederate group says it may appeal Memphis parks decision


Lee Millar with Sons of Confederate Veterans speaks at the Fourth Bluff.

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Sons of Confederate Veterans is considering appealing a court decision in favor of Memphis' decision to sell two public parks to a private nonprofit that removed Confederate monuments last year.

"It was a bit of a setback, but we think we are not done yet," said Lee Millar, with the local chapter of Sons of the Confederate Veterans.

A Davidson County judge ruled Wednesday that the city did not violate law by transferring two parks to Memphis Greenspace, which removed the statues of Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest and Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

Millar says the court found some "very unsettling things" and the SCV still feels the city violated the law.

But Bruce McMullen, the city's chief legal officer, said the city anticipated that any decision would be appealed to the state Supreme Court, and said the city is prepared to defend itself again.

"Every step in the process was legally vetted," McMullen said. "Every step, everything we did was legally vetted. If they appeal we are prepared to go that next step."

McMullen said the city has no plans to buy the parks back from Greenspace, which is paying to maintain the statues in storage. They may be transferred to another entity at some point.

He also said that Greenspace, from what he understands, has no plans to remove the graves of Forrest and his wife, who are buried in Health Sciences Park. Forrest was originally buried in Elmwood Cemetery but was dug up and re-interred in the park on Union Avenue by supporters in 1905.

Millar said the statues should go to a place where they are appreciated by Civil War history buffs. "It should go to a historical nonprofit, if not us."

Wednesday's ruling mentioned that a likely location could be in Parker's Crossroads, Tennessee.


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