POLITICS
12/20/2017 10:04 pm ET Updated Dec 21, 2017

Memphis Removes Confederate Statues From Park After Private Sale

A statue of Confederate general and KKK leader Nathan Bedford Forrest came down first on Wednesday, just hours after the sale ordinance was signed.

Two Confederate statues in Memphis, Tennessee, were removed this week after a months-long battle. 

In a unanimous vote, the Memphis’ City Council approved a measure to remove the statues from Health Sciences Park and Memphis Park after a private sale of the parks, per The Commercial Appeal. The council approved the sale to an unknown buyer.

Mayor Jim Strickland posted photos of himself on social media signing the ordinance to sell the parks

“Health Sciences Park and Memphis Park have been sold,” Strickland wrote on Twitter. “Operations on those sites tonight are being conducted by a private entity and are compliant with state law. We will have further updates later tonight.” 

Strickland’s office did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.

The statue of former Confederate general and Ku Klux Klan leader Nathan Bedford Forrest in Health Sciences Park was removed Wednesday night only hours after the ordinance was signed. A Facebook Live video from WREG Memphis showed crowds gathering in Health Sciences Park, waiting as authorities strapped Forrest’s statue to a construction crane. People cheered as a crew removed the statue from its post and placed it on a flatbed. 

Cranes also removed the statue of Jefferson Davis, located in Memphis Park, last night. According to The New York Times, crowds sang “Hit The Road Jack” as the statue was taken away on a truck.

It’s not clear what will happen to the statues now that the months-long debate as to whether to remove them has come to an end. 

Residents of Memphis have been a part of a nationwide debate over whether Confederate monuments should be removed and whether they glorify the country’s ugly history with slavery. Confederate statues have been a source of contention in many cities, including New Orleans and Charlottesville, Virginia.

Activist Tami Sawyer has led the effort to convince Memphis politicians to take action on the statues.

“It just speaks again to the shadow which we live under here in Memphis, of Jim Crow, of slavery and of a lack of racial equality on our city,” Sawyer told WREG in June.

The city council vote was supposed to take place in November, but was delayed several times, partly in an effort to mediate with protesters. The Sons of Confederate Veterans, a group of descendants of Confederate soldiers, fought the city on the removal efforts, Fox 13 reports.

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