A group in favor of removing the grave of controversial Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest from a Memphis park is protesting the length of time it is taking to accomplish.
Members of the Commission on Religion and Racism got a shovel and dug up a patch of ground near to the site, hoping to speed up the process.
“If he’s gone, some of this racism and race-hate might be gone,” said Isaac Richmond, according to WREG. “We got a fresh shovel full, and we hope that everybody else will follow suit and dig him up.”
The city council has already agreed to shift the grave and statue, along with the grave of Forrest’s wife. But there are still several institutions that must approve the decision.
Bob Shutt, Mayor of Savannah, has indicated that his town would be willing to purchase the statue.
“We're a small, rural community and we don't have a lot of opportunities for economic development,” Shutt explained, according to the Sun. “Five hundred thousand (people) go to Shiloh every year, and if we can get some to get into Savannah to look at a statue … it's economics to us.”
Memphis Mayor A C Wharton intends to wait for a final decision to be reached.
“We appreciate and will consider all offers from those who recognize the value of this asset and are interested in taking possession of it,” said Wharton. “However, there is still a lengthy process that has to take place before the statue and graves can be removed from the public space. While we appreciate the interest, at this point it would be premature to respond to any offers.”
The protest action at the grave site provoked an unhappy response from another organization.
“They can protest all they want. Just because they don’t like it, doesn’t mean they are right. Digging up the park is just pure and simple vandalism,” Lee Millar, spokesperson for the Forrest family and Sons of Confederate Veterans said, according to WREG.
However, if the delays continue, Richmond raised the possibility of going further.
“We are going to bring the back hoe, the tractors and the men with the equipment to raise Bedford Forrest from the soil of Memphis,” Richmond said.