‘KKK Leader’ Vows Mass Rally Over Renaming of Confederate-Themed Parks - U.S. News
The renaming of three Confederate-themed parks in Memphis has spurred foes — including a purported Ku Klux Klan leader known as the “Exalted Cyclops” — to lash out against what they say are attempts to erase history. Others, however, maintain such symbols and monuments represent racism and have to go.
The Memphis City Council, fearful of intervention by state legislators, voted late Tuesday to approve changing the name of Forrest Park to Health Sciences Park. Confederate Park became Memphis Park and and Jefferson Davis Park, named for the president of the Confederacy, was renamed Mississippi River Park.
The vote was 9-0 - seven African-American council members and two white council members voted for the changes — with three council members abstaining and one council member absent.
Forrest Park for years has stirred up emotions. It contains the grave of Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Confederate cavalry leader who traded slaves before the war and went on to become the first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, the infamous hate group that carried out a merciless campaign of lynchings, church fires and other terror against African Americans as well as other immigrant groups.
During the war, troops under Forrest’s command notoriously were accused of slaughtering Federal black troops after the Battle of Fort Pillow. The “Fort Pillow Massacre” became a rallying cry for the Union, according to historians.
“The parks are changed. It’s done,” Councilman Lee Harris, told The Commercial Appeal. “We removed controversial names and named them something that is less controversial.”