After the now infamous Charlottesville white supremacist rally, where a truck plowed into a group of peaceful counter-protesters, killing 32 year-old Heather Heyer, and injuring 19 others, there have been many heated debates about the place of Confederate statues in the U.S. Many would argue that they serve no purpose in this country exempt to elevate people who were essentially traitors and only promote racism.
On Thursday, vandals applied a coat of pink paint to a statue of former Confederate general and Ku Klux Klan leader, Nathan Bedford Forrest, along interstate 65 south of downtown Nashville, Tennessee. The statue is of Forest riding a horse. According to The Tennessean:
‘Bill Dorris, who owns the property and statue, said the coat of pink paint would “show up real good,” and confirmed he had no plans to remove the bright paint, which he anticipates will turn red in the sunlight.’
‘They’ve been trying to figure out how to cover it up. I do think they’ve chose a real good color.’
Private citizens and government officials have been trying to conceal the statue that was erected in 1998. The vandalism happened late Tuesday or early Wednesday morning.
Doris also said the statue has been “shot at six times.” The Tennessean reported:
‘Last fall, someone placed a sign that read “Trump 2016, Make AMERIKKKA Great Again” on a fence on state right-of-way property near the statue.
‘State officials removed the sign shortly after.’
In July, Nashville’s Metro Council approved a resolution that asked the Tennessee Department of Transportation to plant vegetation to block the view of the privately owned statue. TDOT commissioner John Schroer declined the request in an email sent to the Metro clerk’s office, saying:
‘TDOT does not plant foliage on its right-of-way with the sole intention of blocking items on private property based on what might be offensive to some and not to others.’
According to The Tennessean:
‘The vandalism this week took place during an ongoing fight over a bust of Forrest displayed inside the state Capitol in Nashville. Several Tennessee leaders, including U.S. Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and Gov. Bill Haslam, have said the bust’s location should be re-evaluated.’
Just last week in Memphis, the city removed Confederate statues from downtown parks. The city sold two of its parks to a nonprofit. The Tennessean reported:
‘The sale — which is almost certain to result in a lawsuit from statue supporters — allows Greenspace to legally do what the city of Memphis cannot: Remove the statues from their visible perches in the parks, Chief Legal Officer Bruce McMullen said. He said they would be stored in an undisclosed location for security reasons.’
Immediately following the vote, the Memphis police were deployed to the area because they knew this would ignite a wave of protests. Along the riverfront area near the Interstate 40 welcome center, police cordoned off the parks with yellow crime scene tape. Crowds began to arrive as they got the word through social media.
According to The Tennessean:
‘The statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest was lifted off its base at 9:01 p.m., suspended in the air and then settled on a truck. A chant of “the people united will never be defeated” spread through the crowd.’
Doris has about a dozen cameras on his property hoping to catch vandals, and plans to view the footage with assistance to determine who is responsible for the pink paint job. He said:
‘Well, enjoy the new paint scheme is the only thing I can tell them.’
Here is a collection of responses from Twitter:
Featured image by Andrew Lichtenstein/Corbis via Getty Images