Memphis City Council member leaves meeting in tears after defense of historic KKK leader

By Amos Maki, Commercial Appeal
Posted January 23, 2013

MEMPHIS – The emotionally charged issue of renaming Forrest Park landed at City Council Tuesday, leading one council member to leave a committee meeting in tears.

The meeting of the council’s Parks and Neighborhoods Committee began with committee chairman Bill Boyd offering a history lesson of sorts on the park’s namesake, Nathan Bedford Forrest, a slave owner and trader who served as a Confederate cavalry leader in the Civil War and as first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan white-supremacy organization formed immediately after the war.

"When he came back from the war he promoted the progress of black people in this community," Boyd said. "He promoted black people. He gave them jobs in places he owned businesses."


"I’ve been reading as much as I could starting four days ago so I could talk about the subject of the park," said Boyd. "So far, I don’t see any reason to rename it or move it or anything like that."

2013 The E.W. Scripps Co

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