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Nathan Bedford Forrest's relatives demand $30M to move remains, settle lawsuit over statue

The Nathan Bedford Forrest statue in Forrest Park, Memphis, Tenn., photographed between 1900 and 1915.

DETROIT PUBLISHING CO. VIA LIBRARY OF CONGRESS

By DAVID BOROFF | New York Daily News | Published: September 12, 2018

(Tribune News Service) — Relatives of Nathan Bedford Forrest, the first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, are demanding $30 million from Memphis in connection with a statue of the Confederate general that was removed from a city park last year.

Family members are suing the city and Memphis Greenspace Inc. over the statue's exile from Health Sciences Park in December. They are asking for $25 million to settle the lawsuit as well as $5.6 million to remove and re-bury Forrest's remains, which are at the park.

The city of Memphis had used a loophole in state historical preservation law to sell the park for $1,000 to Greenspace.

Greenspace removed the statue but Forrest's remains are still buried at the park.

"The final place for reconstituting the graves of General Forrest and his wife, as well as all related items, will be chosen by the Plaintiff -- the Forrest Descendants," read a letter filed in Davidson County Chancery Court last month.

The city of Memphis called the demand "outlandish."

"They've made it about money," city spokeswoman Ursula Madden said.

A member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans told TV station WMC that "its got nothing to do with the money."

"It's just we're serious and we'll stay in court as long as it takes because we feel the statues should go back up. It's part of our history," Lee Millar told the station.

Forrest was a Confederate general during the Civil War, and rose through the ranks despite no formal military training. Forrest, who was also a slave trader, served as the first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan before he died in 1877 at the age of 56.

Leaders in Memphis and civil rights advocates said the statue was a monument to racism and hate, and pushed for its removal.

With news wire services.

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