Improvements made to Health Sciences Park, but graves of Confederate general and wife remain

Improvements made to Health Sciences Park, but graves of Confederate general and wife remain

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Maintenance projects are underway at Health Sciences Park, but there are still no immediate plans to relocate the graves of a Confederate general and his wife that have been at the center of controversy for years.

Lawsuit over removal of Nathan Bedford Forrest statue removal dropped

Worn out amenities such as park picnic tables and benches are being replaced and new concrete paths have been poured to address longstanding drainage issues in the park, according to Susannah Barton with the Memphis Medical District Collaborative.

The Collaborative now oversees day-to-day management and enhancements of the park. But the property is still owned by Memphis Greenspace, a non-profit quietly created in 2017 to purchase the public park from the City of Memphis and spearhead the removal of the statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest on horseback.

Years of legal battles ensued between Memphis Greenspace and the Sons of Confederate Veterans over the removal of the statue, which sat atop a giant pedestal near the burial site of Forrest and his wife.

New benches and walkways have been installed in the park.
New benches and walkways have been installed in the park. (Source: WMC)

An agreement was reached in late 2019 to give the statue to Sons of Confederate Veterans with the condition it be moved out of Shelby County. A final lawsuit was dropped in May and the Forrest family was to decide what should happen to the couple’s remains.

“We don’t have an update on grave removal at this time but will advise at the appropriate time!” Memphis Greenspace President and Shelby County Commissioner Van Turner said in an email Monday.

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