City council approves early draft of back-up plan for removing Confederate statues

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - There's a new plan to remove the Confederate monuments in Memphis. This comes after the Tennessee Historical Commission (THC) denied the city's request last week.

Tuesday, City Council members approved a first reading of a more amended ordinance to serve as a back-up plan for getting the statues down. The plan includes considering legal action if necessary and even going as far as trying to shut parks down or possibly adding a lynching museum at Health Sciences Park.

"Our view is if we're forced to keep him, then we need to tell a story of 22 African Americans in this county who lost their lives inappropriately," City Council attorney Allan Wade said.

Activist Tami Sawyer is all for the city being progressive and not relying on Tennessee Historical Commission, but she said the idea of building a lynching museum is a bit too far.

"Having a man who killed and lynched black people himself in the presence of a monument to lynching victim's kind of doesn't sit well with me," Sawyer said. "What we do not need to do is sit here and let these statues still stand."

Tami Sawyer said she supports Memphis City Council pushing Mayor Jim Strickland to create a plan for taking all Confederate statues down by November 21st.

"Show a plan. I think that's one thing that was missing," Sawyer said.

Wade said ideally he wants the statues down by April of 2018, right in time for the celebration planned to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. Still, Wade said he would prefer the statues be removed by the end of the year.

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