Rally held to support removal of Confederate statue - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Rally held to support removal of Confederate statue

(Source: WMC Action News 5) (Source: WMC Action News 5)

The statue of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest towers over Health Sciences Park on Union Avenue as it has for decades.

But, Mid-Southerners gathered on Friday to demonstrate both for and against the removal of the statue.

"As a descendant of a Confederate veteran, I don't honor that last whatsoever," said demonstration organizer Tom Smith. "I think it's time for us to move forward and put symbols of racist terror in their proper place, which is either the garbage can or a museum."

Following the mass murders of nine black Christians in South Carolina--allegedly by a white supremacist--people around the country are calling for city and state officials to remove symbols connected to the Confederacy.

"We need to move forward as a country to ensure justice instead of creating monuments that racists and lost causes can come have celebrations at, to use as a dog whistle to recruit more Dylann Roof," said Tom Smith, who organized the demonstration.

However, some Mid-Southerners said the statue is a piece of history and should stay where it is.

"General Forrest was a revered member of society in Memphis, very well-respected and a military leader who is still studied worldwide in military academies today," said Sons of the Confederate Veterans representative Lee Millar.

Others have mixed feelings about the statue.

"In a way, it's important as a focal point to talk about what happened," said one demonstrator. "But then again, we're not honoring him, we're talking about him. But if we look at the base of the statue, it says, 'he's held in the hearts of the citizens of this town,' and that's not true."

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