Tennessee Historical Commission member advocates context for Confederate monuments

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - City Council, the mayor, and many Memphis citizens said they want to remove the Confederate monuments immediately, but legally the city must first get approval from Tennessee Historical Commission.

Memphis has asked for THC's approval before, but the group denied the request.

THC is made up of 25 members, many are from Memphis. One of the members is Beverly Robertson; she used to be the president of the National Civil Rights Museum.

Robertson said she, like many Memphians, feels that a city park is not the place for monuments to the Confederate army.

"We want the history to be told, but we want it to be told in the proper context," Robertson said.

She said the issue isn't about erasing history, it's about where certain history is displayed.

She said the monuments don't belong in city parks, but they would be perfectly fine in a place where people can choose or pay to see them, like a museum.

"Having it sit separately, solely in a place of honor, places a degree of prestige on that statue that perhaps it doesn't deserve," Robertson said.

Memphis City Council is set to discuss the "immediate removal" of the monuments--something that currently would be breaking state law--on August 22.

THC is set to meet in October. Two-thirds of the group must vote to allow the removal of the monuments.

Robertson said if the group votes on the issue, she will vote in favor of removal.

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