Tennessee history

Senate votes to expand Shiloh National Military Park

Press release from Sen. Lamar Alexander

WASHINGTON, June 7, 2018 – United States Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) today said the Senate’s passage of his bill to expand the Shiloh National Military Park in Shiloh, Tennessee, will help attract more visitors to Tennessee, boost local economies, and protect the site for future generations.

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MTSU building will remain named after Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest

Middle Tennessee State University President Sidney A. McPhee said Wednesday there will be no appeal of a Tennessee Historical Commission decision rejecting MTSU’s request to change the name of a campus building named for Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest, reports the Murfreesboro Daily News Journal.

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Report says 110 Confederate memorials removed since 2015 — including eight in TN (where new National Confederate Museum is planned)

The Southern Poverty Law Center has produced a report saying 110 monuments, place names and other memorials or symbols tied to the Confederacy and its leaders have been removed nationwide since 2015, when a shooting at a black church in South Carolina energized a movement against such memorials. The group says it has identified 1,728 that remain.

The Associated Press, in an article on the report, says that the Sons of Confederate Veterans – which, along with the United Daughters of the Confederacy, played a role in erecting many of the memorials  – has at the same time been creating some new ones. The organization is also planning a National Confederate Museum to be located at Columbia, Tenn.

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New book on history of slavery in Tennessee

“History Bill,” as former Tennessean reporter Bill Carey is known in overseeing the non-profit Tennessee History For Kids organization, has waded through hundreds of old newspaper archives to produce a book that starkly illustrates how deeply slavery was once embedded in a state that now is often presented as a leader – well, at least in comparison to other Southern states — in opposition to the now-outlawed ownership of men, women and children by other men, women and children.

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Judge rules Memphis maneuver to remove Confederate statues was legal

Davidson County Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle ruled Wednesday that the City of Memphis had a legal right to sell two city parks to a nonprofit organization that then removed Confederate monuments from the premises, reports the Commercial Appeal.

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Haslam declines to sign (or veto) legislation authorizing moving bodies of James K. Polk and wife from TN Capitol grounds

Gov. Bill Haslam has declined to sign a resolution giving the legislature’s approval to moving the bodies of former President James K. Polk and his wife, Sarah, from the state Capitol grounds to his parents’ home in Columbia, reports the Daily Herald.

Haslam’s press secretary, Jennifer Donnals, confirmed the governor’s decision to let the measure take effect without his signature in an email to The Daily Herald Tuesday. (The legislature’s website says SJR141 was “returned by governor without signature” on April 18. ) The governor had previously said he would prefer the bodies not be relocated.

Polk lived in Columbia after graduating college in 1818 until 1824. Polk owned the home after his father’s death in 1827. His mother stayed in the home till her death in 1852. Polk himself died in 1849.

“This is the only other home than the White House that James K. Polk ever lived in [that still stands],” (former Polk Home and Museum curator Tom) Price said. “James K. Polk was a president for all of us, and I think he’d appreciate the democratic process we’re going through, wanting to hear both sides of this argument.”

Now that Haslam has made his choice, the matter will go before the Tennessee Historical Commission and The Capitol Grounds Commission. After that, a Chancery court judge in Davidson County will hear the issue.

Haslam leaves open possibility of vetoing bill to protect Confederate monuments

Gov. Bill Haslam is leaving open the possibility of vetoing a bill inspired by City of Memphis’ moves to remove Confederate monuments from local parks and aimed at preventing any such actions in the future, reports the Times Free Press.

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Legislators act to deter any future Confederate monument removals

Legislators gave final approval Wednesday to a bill intended to block local governments from future actions like the City of Memphis’ December move to remove Confederate monuments from city parks. The bill prohibits sale or transfer of public property containing a statue without permission of the Tennessee Historical Commission and says local governments violating the new law are barred from receiving state grant funds for five years.

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House GOP retaliation for Confederate monument removal: A scripted political show?

Some Republicans familiar with the discussions leading up to Tuesday’s state House vote cut $250,000 in funding for Memphis in retaliation for the city removing Confederate statues say the money was put into the state budget on the front end only so that it could be later taken away as  part of an effort send a message to Memphis, reports the Commercial Appeal. Others deny that was the case.

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House’s $250K Memphis money cut becomes GOP debate topic, inspires fundraising drive

In a debate Wednesday, three Republican candidates for governor said they disagreed with a House vote to cut $250,000 in funding for Memphis because of the city’s removal of Confederate monuments from former city parks. But Diane Black, Randy Boyd and Bill Lee also said they opposed the city’s action, reports the Memphis Daily News. House Speaker Beth Harwell, who missed the debate while presiding over the House in Nashville, voted for the Memphis funding cut.

Meanwhile, a GoFundMe page has been started on Facebook to raise funds to make up the money lost through the House vote, according to a separate News report. As of Thursday morning, $44,765 had been raised toward the $250,000 goal.

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