The Atlantic

Memphis's Novel Strategy for Tearing Down Confederate Statues

In a surprise move Wednesday evening, the city sold two parks to a nonprofit corporation that promptly tore down monuments to Nathan Bedford Forrest and Jefferson Davis.
Source: Karen Pulfer Focht / Reuters

When Memphians woke up Wednesday, they lived in a city that owned Health Science Park and Fourth Bluff Park, and that featured prominent public statues of Confederate President Jefferson Davis and General Nathan Bedford Forrest.

When they woke up the morning after, neither was true.

In a surprise move Wednesday evening, Memphis’s city council voted to sell the two parks to a new private nonprofit corporation that will run them, on condition that they keep the parks public. Mayor Jim Strickland signed a contract with the nonprofit, Memphis Greenspace, on Friday, and the council ratified it. Soon afterward, Greenspace, which was incorporated in October, began removing the statues, with celebratory crowds gathering to watch, singing, “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye.”, according to the city’s chief legal officer.

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