Update on TN civil war over Confederate statutes

In Chattanooga Sunday, a protest march was staged to urge removal of Confederate Gen. Alexander P. Stewart’s bust from the Hamilton County Courthouse lawn with a smaller group of counter-protesters on hand, reports the Times Free Press.

In Knoxville, meanwhile, former mayor Victor Ashe revisits the State Capitol Commission’s vote against Gov. Bill Haslam’s request to move a bust of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest from the lobby between the state House and Senate chambers.

And the Tennessee Historical Commission has postponed its vote on relocating a Forrest statute in Memphis. Originally scheduled for Oct. 13, it now won’t come until February of next year at the earliest, reports the Memphis Flyer.

From the TFP:

Marchers made their way along Market Street, singing “We Shall Overcome” and chanting slogans such as “Jim Crow has got to go.” Peace signs adorned many posters, and others had slogans such as “Courthouses R neutral zones” and “White silence = violence.”

Renee Hall, who is white, was one of the marchers. She said she wanted to show support for African-Americans and other people of color, because “if it’s a symbol of racism to them, it needs to go.”

… The Daughters of the Confederacy erected the memorial in 1919. The monument rests on a concrete pedestal that reads “C.S.A 1861-1865.

… Robert Lee Williamson carried a large Confederate flag and stood silently in opposition. Others held United States flags, while one woman held a Trump campaign sign and a man wore a Make America Great Again hat.

Williamson said the marchers were a “large group of misguided people.”

“At more than one time in his life, [Stewart] spoke against slavery,” he said. “He also was not a secessionist. He fought for the Confederacy, yes, for the state of Tennessee, which is a very honorable thing to do.”

From Ashe’s Shopper News column:

The deciding votes against Haslam’s views were ironically cast by two people appointed by Haslam – King Rogers, a Memphis attorney and former UT trustee, and Tammy White, from Knoxville, who currently is the executive director of Leadership Knoxville and previously an active Republican operative. Leadership Knoxville has been heavily supported over the years by the Haslam family. In the past, White has worked closely with Haslam and it resulted in this appointment to the commission. 

White said nothing during the extensive discussion and asked not one question. She never explained her vote except for a brief comment to the press about not having enough information on the history of Forrest to vote in favor. That is a weak excuse when one considers White never sought information or asked a single question at the public meeting.

White had a letter from the governor who placed her on the board asking for her vote. She never called the governor’s office seeking information before the meeting. She never gave the governor a heads-up on her plans to oppose his request. She blindsided him. Why?

From the Memphis Flyer:

The Tennessee Historical Commission’s chairman sent a letter to city officials Thursday saying that it will not vote on the waiver to remove the Nathan Bedford Forrest statue from Health Sciences Park in Memphis at its October meeting.

Addressed to the city’s attorney Bruce McMullen, the letter, from chairman Reavis Mitchell Jr. announced that the commission cannot vote on the waiver until it approves a new rule-making process.

Mitchell said the proposed rules will be voted on at the commission’s Oct. 13 meeting. Because of legal provisions, the commission must pass the new set of rules before voting on any waiver requests.

This means that the earliest the commission will vote on the city’s request might be at its next meeting in February 2018.

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