The National Civil Rights Museum applauds the City of Memphis and the Memphis City Council for identifying a solution and removing the statues of Nathan Bedford Forrest and Jefferson Davis. We also applaud the efforts of concerned citizens who brought attention to the issue and diligently pushed for resolution.
For decades, these statues have haunted African Americans in this community, symbolizing oppression, white supremacy, and domestic terrorism. These figures represented a time when the majority of the city’s population was considered 3/5ths human and the property of the minority. They symbolized the legalization of a society that for years agreed with the separate but equal laws of Jim Crow. Their presence was a constant reminder that the Constitution on which this country was founded was only applicable to a particular group of people.
While we recognize that the removal of the statues will not change hearts and minds, nor eliminate the racial and ethnic discrimination that continues today, it is a step in the right direction, acknowledging that the atrocities of the past and those that committed them should not be placed on a public pedestal.
Terri Lee Freeman, President
National Civil Rights Museum