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Memphis Removes Confederate Statue From Park After Private Sale

One of two Confederate statues in Memphis, Tennessee, has come down. 

Memphis’ City Council held a unanimous vote Wednesday to sell and remove two Confederate statues in Health Sciences Park and Memphis Park after a private sale of the parks, according to The Commercial Appeal. The council approved the sale to an unknown buyer after a months-long battle to remove the statues from city property.

Mayor Jim Strickland posted photos of himself on social media signing the ordinance to sell the parks

“Health Sciences Park and Memphis Park have been sold,” Strickland wrote on Twitter Wednesday night. “Operations on those sites tonight are being conducted by a private entity and are compliant with state law. We will have further updates later tonight.” 

Strickland’s office did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.

The statue of former Confederate general and Ku Klux Klan leader Nathan Bedford Forrest in Health Sciences Park was removed Wednesday night only hours after the ordinance was signed.

A Facebook Live video from WREG Memphis showed crowds gathering in Health Sciences Park, waiting as authorities strapped Forrest’s statue to a construction crane. People cheered as a crew removed the statue from its post and placed it on a flatbed. 

As of 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday, no action had yet been taken on the Jefferson Davis statue in Memphis Park. 

It’s not clear what will happen to the statues now that the months-long debate as to whether to remove them has come to an end. 

Residents of Memphis have been a part of a nationwide debate over whether Confederate monuments should be removed and whether they glorify the country’s ugly history with slavery. Confederate statues have been a source of contention in many cities, including New Orleans and Charlottesville, Virginia.

Activist Tami Sawyer has led the effort to convince Memphis politicians to take action on the statues.

“It just speaks again to the shadow which we live under here in Memphis, of Jim Crow, of slavery and of a lack of racial equality on our city,” Sawyer told WREG in June.

The city council vote was supposed to take place in November, but was delayed several times, partly in an effort to mediate with protesters. The Sons of Confederate Veterans, a group of descendants of Confederate soldiers, fought the city on the removal efforts, Fox 13 reports.

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