racial relations

Illinois proposal denounces TN House for spurning anti-white nationalist resolution

A resolution filed in the Illinois House of Representatives declares that the Tennessee House has “been cowed by the growing influence of white nationalists and neo-Nazis” and the Democrat sponsor tells The Tennessean he expects it to pass with Republican support. It’s suggested other states may do the same.

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House retreats from approval of resolution honoring Confederate statue critic

On the “blink-and-you’ve-missed-it” motion of House Majority Leader Glen Casada, the state House has recalled from the Senate a resolution honoring Tami Sawyer, a leader of the Black Lives Matter movement and in the successful efforts to remove Confederate statues from Memphis city parks, reports Cari Wade Gervin. The initial House passage with a GOP supermajority is characterized as “this year’s installment of “Hey, maybe you should read what you are voting for.”

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Memphis mayor disputes CNN pundit’s ‘blistering critique’ of city and its leadership

After CNN pundit Angela Rye unleashed a blistering critique of Memphis and its leadership during a taxpayer-funded speech Saturday, Memphis’ Mayor Jim Strickland took the unusual step Monday of issuing a rebuttal to “defend our city,” reports the Commercial Appeal.

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New U.S. Civil Rights Trail includes 10 Tennessee locations

Press release from Tennessee Department of Tourist Development

Memphis, Tenn. – Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander and Department of Tourist Development Commissioner Kevin Triplett, today (Wednesday) officially dedicated 10 sites in Tennessee as part of the newly-launched U.S. Civil Rights Trail. The announcement was made during a press conference at the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis.

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Rally at UT brings 45 white nationalists, 250 protesters, 200 law enforcement officers

About 45 white nationalists showed up for a Saturday rally on the University of Tennessee Knoxville campus that was led by Matthew Heimbach, leader of a group known as Traditionalist Worker Party, reports the News Sentinel. So did 250 people protesting white nationalists and about 200 law enforcement officers from four different agencies.

There were no arrests, though six people were issued tickets for obstructing a highway during the protests, according to University of Tennessee Police Chief Troy Lane.

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Legal actions launched against removal of Confederate statutes in Memphis

The Sons of Confederate Veterans and descendants of Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest have filed two legal actions against the City of Memphis over removal of Confederate statutes from two former city parks last month, reports the Commercial Appeal.

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Alexander hails passage of bill to preserve civil rights history sites

Press release from Sen. Lamar Alexander

NASHVILLE, December 22, 2017 – U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today said the Senate has sent President Trump legislation to be signed into law that will recognize and connect important landmarks of the Civil Rights Movement, including two potential sites in Memphis. Alexander said the legislation will preserve history for the next generation.

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Confederate statute removal brings Democratic cheers, Republican jeers

House Republican leaders Thursday criticized the sale of two Memphis city parks to clear the way for removal of Confederate statues, suggesting there may be legislative efforts against the move. House Democrats, on the other hand, praised the Memphis maneuver.

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Memphis sells city parks, buyer removes Confederate statues

A private group headed by a county commissioner and fueled by anonymous donations bought two parks from the city of Memphis at little cost this week in a maneuver that cleared the way for swift removal of two Confederate statutes that have sparked conflict for years, reports the Associated Press.

Shelby County Commissioner and attorney Van Turner told a news conference Thursday that his group, Memphis Greenspace Inc., is ready for any lawsuits that arise from its deal with the city, which took months of planning to sidestep a Tennessee law that makes it tough to take down Confederate monuments on public grounds.

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Bill would move N.B. Forrest bust to state museum

Rep. Brenda Gilmore, former chair of the Tennessee Black Caucus of State Legislators, has filed a bill that would move a bust of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest from the state capitol lobby to the new Tennessee State Museum.

Under current state law, the Capitol Commission must approve any such move – and the panel voted 7-5 in September to leave the Forrest bust in place. HB1466 specifically makes the Forrest bust an exception to that general rule and further directs that it be relocated to the new museum, now under construction.

There’s no listed Senate sponsor yet for the bill, pre-filed for consideration in the legislative session that begins next month.

Note: Previous post on the commission vote is HERE; a post with a bit of bust history HERE.