As we reported earlier this month, the Memphis, Tennessee, City Council unanimously voted to dig up the bodies of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest and his wife. But a group of anti-Confederate activists simply couldn’t wait and took matters into their own hands, Kyle Olson reported at the American Mirror Thursday, citing a report at WREG.
According to WREG, the activists grabbed a shovel and dug up a small patch of grass next to Forrest’s grave. The group, known as the “Commission on Religion and Racism,” say they’ve wanted Forrest and the statue honoring him gone for a long time, and they’re apparently not ready to let the law stand in their way.
“We are going to bring the back hoe, the tractors and the men with the equipment to raise Bedford Forrest from the soil of Memphis,” said group activist Dr. Isaac Richmond, a failed candidate for Congress. According to Richmond, removing Forrest and his wife will somehow help end racism.
“If he’s gone, some of this racism and race-hate might be gone,” he said. “We got a fresh shovel full, and we hope that everybody else will follow suit and dig him up.” Richmond, however, did not say what he intended to do with Forrest’s remains.
Others, however, see their actions as little more than destruction of property, Olson said. Among those criticizing the group was Lee Millar, a spokesperson for the Forrest family and the Sons of Confederate Veterans.
“They can protest all they want. Just because they don’t like it, doesn’t mean they are right,” Millar told WREG. “Digging up the park is just pure and simple vandalism,” he added, saying that everyone who held the shovel broke the law.
“We really don’t want to make this a confrontation,” Richmond said. “We just want to say hey, we want to get on with it!”
The group’s action infuriated one man, who drove hundreds of miles to plant new grass in the area dug up by the activists. According to WREG, Scott Hudson of Lincoln County, Tennessee, dug up grass from his own yard, drove five hours to the park and repaired the grass destroyed by Richmond’s group.
“I’m going to repair the blatant disregard for this cemetery,” he told WREG. “It just upset me to my core, because my great-grandfather R.C. Hudson fought in the Confederate Army.”
Memphis police, WREG added, have yet to say if Richmond and his activists broke any laws. Hudson, however, has already formed an opinion.
“It was vandalism. There is no question about it,” he said. “It was vandalism, and it was illegal.”