A while back the Memphis City Council gave an early embrace to a proposed ordinance directing Mayor Jim Strickland’s administration to come up with a plan to immediately get the statues of Nathan Bedford Forrest and Jefferson Davis out of two city parks.
The Council was scheduled to take a final vote on Tuesday but that didn’t happen. Instead, the next consideration of the matter was put off until the Dec. 5 meeting.
The delay came into the picture in association with advice from City Council Attorney Alan Wade, who detailed some related steps that are being taken in the effort to get the statues removed.
City Council Chairman Berlin Boyd summed up where he understands that it all stands in his weekly Council meeting recap.
While a plan is ready to go for the removal of statues, Boyd said, “upon the request of the Governor and the State Attorney General, the City will move into mediation with the Sons of Confederate Veterans and the heirs to Nathan Bedford Forrest, under the supervision of two former Tennessee Supreme Court justices.”
Meanwhile, he said, “Litigation in Chancery Court continues, and this issue has been held until December 5th.”
Back in October, the Tennessee Historical Commission rejected the city’s waiver petition requesting the removal of Forrest’s statue from Health Sciences Park downtown. A legal challenge to that ruling continues.
The Shelby County Chancery Court litigation involves the city trying to get the court to back a declaration that the statue is a “public nuisance.”
And, of course, all of this continues to unfold as the clock ticks toward the MLK50 commemoration of the death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis on April 4.