Tennessee lawmakers punish Memphis city for removing Confederate monuments

The Republican-dominated House took away a sum of $250,000 away from the city which was earmarked for its bicentennial celebration, scheduled to be held next year


                            Tennessee lawmakers punish Memphis city for removing Confederate monuments
(Source:Getty Images)

The House in Tennessee on Tuesday voted to punish the city of Memphis for removing Confederate monuments. Reports state that the state is taking a sum of $250,000 away from the city which was earmarked for its bicentennial celebration, scheduled to be held next year.

Reports state that the last-minute amendment was made in form of a passage attached to the House appropriations bill.

The amendment, however, triggered a heated debate on the Republican-dominated House floor from Memphis lawmakers over the retaliatory move.

Democratic Representative, Antonio Parkinson, even termed the amendment racist, which was met with boos from the rest of the Republican lawmakers in the House, according to NBC News.

The Memphis representative then retorted with: "You can boo all you want but let's call it for what it is."

Protester Maurice Spivey holds up a sign to protest against the name of Nathan Bedford Forrest Park in front of a statue bearing his likeness August 13, 2005 in Memphis, Tennessee. (Getty Images)

Memphis, the majority of whose residents are blacks, last year utilized a legal loophole to do away with two Confederate statues and a bust.

The city authorities reportedly sold the city parks to a nonprofit, which removed all the Confederate monuments installed there.

The statues of Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Nathan Bedford Forrest were swiftly lifted and taken away. Forrest was a general in the Confederacy and was a slave owner and a leader in the Ku Klux Klan. 

Parkson said that he is sick of his fellow lawmakers revering 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, who is an African-American, added.

While a Republican lawmaker, Representative Gerald McCormick, who grew up in Memphis, said that he loved his city, however, it expected it to abide by the spirit of the law which protects historical monuments in the region.

Protesters attend a rally protesting against the name of Nathan Bedford Forrest Park in front of a statue bearing his likeness August 13, 2005 in Memphis, Tennessee. (Getty Images)

"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.

Another Republican lawmaker, Rep. Andy Holt, said that the city's efforts to remove the monuments was equal to erasing its history, something he added ISIS does, and the action deserves punishment, according to reports.

"Today is a demonstration that bad actions have bad consequences, and my only regret about this is it's not in the tune of millions of dollars," Holt said while referring to the punishment.