Shelby County Historical Commission considering taking up the histories of Nathan Bedford Forrest and the Confederate battle flag

A suggestion by Dr. LaSimba Gray, Jr. that the Shelby County Historical Commission discuss the controversy over the history of Nathan Bedford Forrest and the [Confederate] Battle Flag of Northern Virginia appears to have been met with a favorable response from his fellow members of the Commission.

Near the end of its meeting Thursday, July 9, 2015, Gray made the request saying the Commission could “correct” some of the history. Shelby County Historian Jimmy Ogle, serving as chairman of the meeting in the absence of Dr. Curt Fields, said he expected it to be a “difficult” discussion but one that was worthwhile to have. He said he would take the suggestion under advisement. The Commission does not have a regular meeting in August as it substitutes its annual Shelby County History Awards Dinner for it.

It was mentioned by more than one member that they thought such a discussion would take more than the hour or so regular meetings typically run, and one member said that the topic deserved consideration before and after the meeting before any conclusions were reached.

The Mayor of Memphis, A C Wharton, Jr. has called for the removal of the remains of Forrest and his wife from a public park as well as the statue of the Confederate war general on his horse at the current grave site. On July 7, 2015, the Memphis City Council passed a resolution “authorizing the removal and reinterment of remains of all deceased persons buried in the burial ground at Health Sciences Park,” although council attorney Alan Wade said all the resolution did was authorize the city administration to explore alternatives to the location of the graves.

The City now identifies the park that once was known as Nathan Bedford Forrest Park as Health Sciences Park, although that decision by the city council last year is now the subject of a lawsuit which is before the Tennessee Court of Appeals.

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