Tennessee House Votes to De-Fund Memphis ‘Bicentennial Celebration’ After the Midnight Statue Removal Debacle

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Using ‘the power of the purse,’ the Tennessee House of Representatives passed an amendment by a vote of 56-31 Tuesday to de-fund Memphis’ bicentennial celebration by $250,000 as a consequence to the overnight removal of two Confederate monuments in late 2017.

“If you recall, back in December, Memphis did something that removed historical markers in the city,” Tennessee Republican Rep. Steve McDaniel said from the House floor. “It was the city of Memphis that did this, and it was full knowing it was not the will of the legislature.”

Memphis Mayor and City Council schemed to sell the land containing the parks and statues of Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest on very favorable terms to a nonprofit which then took them down.

As The Tennessee Star reported:

Confederate monuments on what was until recently city property were taken down in Memphis after the sun set on Wednesday with little advance public discussion of the propriety of the actions taken secretively to circumvent state law.

Whether the actions of the Memphis City Council and Mayor Jim Strickland that caused these stealth take downs of Confederate monuments Wednesday legally circumvent state law, or are in fact a brazen violation of state law, is a matter that members of the Tennessee General Assembly are sure to investigate when they convene in Nashville next month.

It is unclear whether Mayor Strickland or Memphis officials sought a legal opinion from Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery on their legal right to undertake these actions.

According to a recent Tennessee Star Poll, 64 percent of Tennessee Republican likely primary voters are more likely to vote for a candidate who opposes the removal of these monuments, while 26 percent are less likely to vote for a candidate who opposes the removal of these monuments.

State House Democrats were predictably outraged. The Commercial Appeal reported that state Rep. Antonio Parkinson (D-Memphis) called it the most “vile, racist” effort he had seen and said Republicans viewed Forrest “as if he was God.”

State Rep. Raumesh Akbari (D-Memphis) said, “This amendment and the explanation is hateful, it is unkind, it is un-Christian and it is unfair. Memphis is a city in this state, and I am sick of people in this House acting like it’s not.”

Unfazed, Republican State Rep. Andy Holt (R-Dresden) said that “bad actions” have “bad consequences.”

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5 Thoughts to “Tennessee House Votes to De-Fund Memphis ‘Bicentennial Celebration’ After the Midnight Statue Removal Debacle”

  1. Al Sharpton

    The Alamo is next on my list!

  2. John Bumpus

    State Rep. Raumesh Akbari (D-Memphis) said, “This amendment and the explanation is hateful, it is unkind, it is un-Christian and it is unfair. Memphis is a city in this state, and I am sick of people in this House acting like it’s not.”
    Unfazed, Republican State Rep. Andy Holt (R-Dresden) said that “bad actions” have “bad consequences.”

    Good for State Rep. Holt!

  3. Bill

    Racist? Here we go. So if we say nothing about the removal of war hero’s in history, and remove MLK statues as well as other black historians. Start changing street names commemorating black leaders remembered such as Rosa L Parks etc. In Which we are proud to honor, then we will be Ok? Who are the racist here? Seems a little gray to me these days. Here’s an idea though. Stop relying on the R word to avoid working together and short cutting societal harmony. Our only Master is the Lord our God. Racism sad to say, will always exist due to ignorance, but it’s not isolated to one race. It’s in every race and culture. Love is the only solution of it. Removing monuments does nothing but fans the flames of it. I prefer God’s solution. Pretty sure it was the Rev. King’s as well. A heart of love instead of a heart of hate.

  4. Jim Forsythe

    Removing the statute was a stupid action! As much as you try, you cannot change history. The state should not fund people who promote such nonsense.

  5. 83ragtop50

    Why would the state help fund this event under any circumstances?

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