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Battle Over Civil War Statues Becomes Racially Charged

A local Memphis minister says members of the administration of Mayor Jim Strickland are leaning toward white supremacy goals with their actions over the Civil W...
Battle over Confederate Statues

Reverend Earle Fisher says the Mayor is not following the will of the majority of citizens by immediately removing the statues.

A Strickland spokesperson says the Mayor is damned if he does, damned if he doesn’t… and he wants to.

Over the weekend, eight people were arrested after trying to put a sheet over the statue of General Nathan Bedford Forrest. It is illegal to cover up an historic statue.

Reverend Fisher says the fact Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland is not immediately taking the statues down shows his administration is becoming more sympathetic toward white supremacists goals.

“His administration is leaning day by day, more and more toward white supremacist apologetics and white supremacist sympathizers,” Reverend Fisher says, “… and he has to pick a stronger side.” 

Mayor Strickland is not talking about this issue.

His spokeswoman says, it’s easy to understand why. “If someone had alluded you were a white supremacist,” says Strickland spokeswoman Ursula Madden, “… you would be offended. The mayor was offended. He’s a human being. He has feelings and nothing could be further from the truth. It’s absurd.”

Madden says anyone who has any questions about how Jim Strickland feels about the Confederate statues and the old park names, should look at his record. “He voted to change the names of the parks,” Madden says. “He voted to move the statues. And if it weren’t for state law, if it were up to him, the statues would have been removed already.”

Mayor Strickland is fighting a legal battle to get the statues removed, but to Reverend Earle Fisher, that’s not enough. “I think we are in a time that’s demanding some immediate action taken on behalf of those who represent the vast majority of citizens in this city,” he says.

Meanwhile, we are told Mayor Strickland has been talking to Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam. The mayor wants the October 13th Tennessee Historical Commission meeting moved up into September. He also wants the commission to make a decision on the statues at that meeting. The commission is scheduled to talk technically about waivers, and not expected to even discuss the statues.