New historical marker to clarify history of Nathan Bedford Forrest

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - A new historical marker about Nathan Bedford Forrest will be unveiled in April.

The marker will be placed near the corner of Adams Avenue and B.B. King Boulevard in Downtown Memphis.

A historical marker for Forrest is already in the area. It was placed in 1955 and states that Forrest had a home at the site and became wealthy from his "business enterprises."

That historical marker neglects to mention that his most profitable business enterprise was slave trading. He owned and operated a slave yard next to his home from 1854-1860. He sold thousands of men, women, and children at the site--sending most of them to plantations in the Mississippi Delta.

Sponsored by Rhodes College, Calvary Episcopal Church, and the National Park Service, students at Rhodes wrote text for a new historical marker. The new text is supposed to tell a more complete story of Forrest and his business enterprises. The full text of the new marker can be read below:


The new marker will be placed on the property of Calvary Episcopal Church--the church's parking lot now occupies the area where the slave yard once operated.

The dedication of the new historical marker will happen April 4, 2018.

Rhodes College professor Timothy S. Huebner wrote a guest column for Commercial Appeal detailing the history of the property and Forrest's business enterprises in the area. He said Forrest was part of a national network that illegally smuggled Africans into America, violating an 1808 congressional ban.

"Historians always start in the archives, they start with the documents, they start with primary sources that explain what happened there," Huebner said. "I would even venture to say that the language which is used in this marker has been more thoroughly vetted that what would happen in a typical marker."

Sons of Confederate Veterans, a group that says it fights to protect history, disagrees. The group's spokesman, Lee Millar, released the following statement about the new marker:

"The Sons of Confederate Veterans always supports the placement of additional historical markers that will help educate our citizens to our great past. However, we believe that these should be truthful and accurately represent our history.

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