Metro Parks Board Petitions State Historical Commission to Remove Sam Davis Statue


Metro Parks Board has sought permission to remove the Confederate Private Monument featuring soldier Sam Davis from Centennial Park. They submitted the formal request to the Tennessee Historical Commission (THC); Tennessee Code requires that THC wait at least 60 days before holding a hearing for a petition.

Renewed discussion to remove the monument began during January’s board meeting. Vice-Chair Susannah Scott-Barnes asserted that the statue was a “divisive symbol.” She noted that, in light of last year’s protests and the continued climate over Confederate statues nationwide, any vandalism would pose a cost issue for the board. Although the board requires state permission to relocate or remove the monument, the costs to maintain the statue are sourced from local funds.

“Considering all the events that were happening this summer, it would make sense for us to revisit it,” stated Scott-Barnes. “I see this as a divisive symbol that I have concerns about as a park board member and I would like to hear from the rest of the board. I would also like to raise the point that it is park’s property and if this vandalism, you know, is more severe or continues, that becomes kind of a cost issue for the park’s department to continue maintaining it.”

Other board members agreed with Scott-Barnes’ assessment that the statue serves as a divisive symbol. Members approved the motion to petition THC for removing the statue unanimously.

Board members didn’t respond to a request for comment from The Tennessee Star by press time.

Sam Davis, known as the “Boy Hero of the Confederacy,” was a Confederate soldier captured by Union forces and hanged for his unwillingness to reveal the identity of Confederate spies. His childhood home is a museum, and he has several monuments throughout the state – including one in front of the Tennessee State Capitol dedicated in 1915.

The Centennial Park monument of the soldier was first erected in 1909.

This isn’t the first time that the statue’s fate was called into question by the board. After vandals smeared the statue with red paint and wrote “THEY WERE RACISTS” across the affixed plaque bearing the names of hundreds of Confederate soldiers in 2019, the board considered relocating the statue elsewhere in the park. Ultimately, they voted to leave the monument alone.

The THC has yet to decide on the petition of the Nathan Bedford Forrest bust in the Capitol rotunda, submitted last August.

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Corinne Murdock is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and the Star News Network. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Sam Davis Statue” by Pn219. CC BY-SA 4.0.






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14 Thoughts to “Metro Parks Board Petitions State Historical Commission to Remove Sam Davis Statue”

  1. […] later, at least two news outlets erroneously reported that a petition had been filed. For example, The Tennessee Star reported that “Metro Parks Board has sought permission to remove the Confederate Private […]

  2. C. Steven Murphree, Ph.D.

    I am writing to express my disappointment in your article that appeared recently in the Tennessee Star. Unfortunately, it can now be added to a growing list of false statements about Confederate monuments and symbols. In your article, you referred to the statue in Centennial Park as a “statue of Sam Davis”. This is patently false information and should have been better researched before it was published if good journalism is the goal of the Tennessee Star. The photo included is not of the seated statue in Centennial Park.
    The statue on the Confederate monument in Centennial Park is not of Sam Davis but, rather, was meant to represent a generic Confederate soldier to stand for the men who enlisted from Davidson County. That is the reason for the 500 or so names on the plaque which is a part of the statue/memorial. I would say that a good many of your readers are descended from these men whom the “woke” folks have labeled as racists when they desecrated that monument on more than one occasion. No negative-press magnets like General Nathan Bedford Forrest – just men who joined the Confederate Army of Tennessee to defend their homes (and new country) against invading armies. That the Metro Parks Board has decided to go through the 1+ year waiver application process with the Tennessee Historical Commission to remove this monument is simply unconscionable. That should have been your story line….
    C. Steven Murphree, Ph.D.
    Sam Davis Memorial Association

  3. Ms Independent

    Just STOP IT! ENOUGH of this “cancel” culture!

  4. lb

    Infurating. Where does this end??
    This kid wasnt a soldier, he was a Courier and no matter what you think about the Confederacy, what he did, in his time was heroic.
    This needs to stop. The Historical Commission needs to tell this Board, Memphis, etc to pound sand because we are NOT removing Statues in TN JUST because some wokey race baiter is “offended”. It is part of our History and it STAYS

  5. 83ragtop50

    Apparently Scoot-Barnes was asleep during her American History classes. She, and her cronies, can stomp and whine all they want but history will remain. Instead of supporting those who earlier disfigured this statute she should be asking why those criminals are not in jail.

  6. James H Swor

    This is the result of the constant effort by the powers to be to market our state and encourage everyone from around the country to move here. These people come here, get a cushy job, or retirement, and bring their baggage with them. That’s why they’re called Carpetbaggers. The first thing they want to do is foment change.

  7. jamesb

    hey idiots. while your at it demolish the parthenon. afterall those greeks were racist and mysoginist

  8. Herman Murdock

    Have any of these “woke” folks ever considered the fact that their PC actions and demands are way more divisive than the historical monuments, busts, and names they want removed in recognition of their “noble” cause?!

  9. Hugh Brooks

    New move underway to force the renaming many of Tennessee Counties. Counties named after controversial leaders including Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Jackson etc.

    1. Mike Ray

      That will probably be next.

      It’s never going to stop till its stoped

  10. William Finch

    My Question is WHY? Can someone explain? The Board of Parks and Recreation need to stick to their responsibilities and leave our Statues alone. I’m born and raised in Nashville, a combat Veteran and over 74 years old. A proud third generation of combat Veterans for our great state. Those that were not born here and don’t appreciate our statues should either keep their mouths shut or leave our state. Thank You!!

    1. Mike Ray

      Need to get on there ass I did.

  11. rick

    I am sick of all of these people that project their liberal phobias on society – ignorant liberal progressive communist.