Maxine Smith talks about parks controversy - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Maxine Smith talks about parks controversy

Nearly 150 years after Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest joined the military, the battle continues.

"While he is lionized with stature, I feel sacrilegious sitting here," said Maxine Smith.

Smith, a NAACP board member, stood the same ground at a protest to remove the statue of Forrest from public property 20 years ago.

"It's not too late for that in my mind," she said.

For the first time since then, Dr. Smith got a close look at the monument, preparing for Reverend Al Sharpton's arrival. Sharpton plans to lead another rally this Saturday.

She says whether you support the park or not, everyone has a hand in it.

"This is tax supported property, she said, "and I don't feel like supporting it under this circumstance."

Nathan Bedford Forrest first made history on the streets of Memphis on Adams Avenue between 2nd and 3rd Streets, where he operated Forrest and Maples Slave Traders. Today, the Shelby County Courthouse and a church stand on that location.

Smith said the same change can happen at Forrest Park.

"We can meet some grounds of mutual respect. But I don't plan to acquiesce on my feelings because I feel too strongly about it."

The Sons of Confederate Veterans said Friday people fail to realize Forrest had a change of heart, calling for equal employment for African Americans later in life. They will not attend Saturday's rally.

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