Published: Thu, April 19, 2018
Life&Culture | By Rose Hansen

Tennessee Strips Memphis Of Celebration Money For City's Removal Of Confederate Statues

Tennessee Strips Memphis Of Celebration Money For City's Removal Of Confederate Statues

After Memphis, Tennessee, removed Confederate statues from city parks a year ago, the state Senate voted Wednesday to move forward with a $37.5 billion budget that includes no money for the city's upcoming bicentennial celebration.

Cohen represented parts of Memphis for more than two decades in the Tennessee state Senate.

Ahead of the city's 200th anniversary in May 2019, Memphis government officials have been working on a plan that Mayor Jim Strickland (D) calls "Memphis 3.0".

"From Scopes Monkey Trial, to 10 Commandments resolution of '96, &now to punishment of #Memphis for removing statues that honor leaders of the Confederacy, the TN House of Representatives sadly continues to embarrass #Tennessee across the nation", Cohen tweeted.

On Tuesday, lawmakers in the Tennessee House passed an amendment to a state appropriations bill that strips $250,000 in funding that the city was to receive for its upcoming bicentennial celebration. The move drew vehement protests from Memphis lawmakers.

State Rep. Antonio Parkinson (D) said the amendment was the most "vile, racist" measure he had seen, while state Rep. Raumesh Akbari (D) called it "un-Christian".

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The reason for the vote was that Memphis last year removed statues of former Confederate President Jefferson Davis and former Confederate General Forrest, who would go on to become the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan in the years following the Civil War.

Parkinson, who is African-American, said he was sick of how fellow lawmakers revered Forrest "as if he was God, as if he was an idol". "You remove money from a city because we removed your God from our grounds", Parkinson said, referring to the statue of the long-dead KKK leader.

"And the law was very clear, and they got smart lawyers to figure out how to wiggle around the law, and I think that's what the issue is", McCormick said.

But Republican Rep. Andy Holt supported the initiative, arguing that "bad actions" have "bad consequences". It's not fair. Memphis is a part of Tennessee.

On Tuesday, the House voted on a budget amendment that removed the $250,000.

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