Sons of Confederate Veterans takes possession of statues from Memphis parks

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

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The group Sons of Confederate Veterans now has possession of Confederate statues removed from Memphis parks in December 2017.

City of Memphis leaders confirmed the transfer in an announcement Tuesday.

“They have been released to the custody of the descendants and/or SCV to display them as they wish,” a city news release stated.

The city said Memphis Greenspace, the non-profit entity that took control of the former Nathan Bedford Forrest Park and Confederate Park in downtown Memphis, had promised to preserve the statues after their removal.

Those parks were renamed and the statues of Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest and Confederate President Jefferson Davis removed from their pedestals and placed in storage.

An SCV spokesman, who did not want to be named, said the group was happy with the settlement and the cooperation of Memphis Greenspace, but wouldn’t say if it would end legal appeals on the matter.

Sons of Confederate Veterans had filed suit against the city over the removal of the statues, but a Davidson County judge said the removal was legal. State law limits removal of historic statues from public property, but the city circumvented that by selling the parks to a private group.

SCV did not say where the statues would be headed, but said they were in a secure location.

Van Turner with Memphis Greenspace did not immediately comment but said to expect an announcement.

Turner has previously said that the statues would not return to Shelby County.

The statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest was removed from its pedestal at 9:01 p.m.

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