Play to tell story about Confederate statues’ removal in Memphis

Stage Play to tell story about Confederate Statues Removal in Memphis

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A controversial moment that put Memphis in the national spotlight will soon be making its way to the stage.

A National organization is helping to fund a play about the removal of the city's confederate statues.

In the middle of the night in December 2017, the statues of Confederate leaders Jefferson Davis and Nathan Bedford Forrest were removed from two Memphis parks.

Ekundayo Bandele just won a grant to tell the story of how this happened.

"They did select ours because it’s cutting edge. It is definitely documenting the moment of history in Memphis that needs to be remembered,” said Bandele.

Bandele is the founder and CEO of Hattiloo Theatre in Memphis. He received a more than $18,000 grant From the “MAP fund” to write and produce the stage play about the “Take ‘em Down 901” movement.

“So many people involved taking down these statues all the way back to the 1980s,” said Bandele. “If we’re going to tell that story comprehensively, we have to make sure the various voices are there in the script without being named.”

While some of those people will not be named, Bandele said what they stood for will be.

However there was another side to this movement, those who fought to keep the statues on public display.

“The play seems to promote this historical terrorism, which is entirely wrong,” says Lee Millar with the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

Sons of Confederate Veterans and descendants of Nathan Bedford Forrest are currently in a legal fight with the city for removing the statues.

Miller calls this play one-sided.

However, Bandele says this play isn't meant to tell both sides, but rather document the strategies behind how the statues were legally removed.

Bandele wants the play to be performed in Health Sciences Park where the statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest once stood.

The play should be completed by Spring 2021.

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