Controversy over Civil War relics in Confederate Park

by Jamel Major
Monday, June 18th, 2012

MEMPHIS, TN – (WMC-TV) – It’s a controversy that has captured the attention of people on all sides. And now, it’s become a battle over history and how to remember it. 

It’s the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, and Tarry Beasley hopes to soon return cannons to Confederate Park.

"We’re honoring our ancestors, both black and white by placing the cannons there in the park," Beasley, with the Sons of Confederate Veterans said.

So far, the Sons of Confederate Veterans have raised approximately $72,000 in a campaign with the Riverfront Development Corp. to bring four Civil War-era replica cannons to Confederate Park. 

While many in the community have different opinions on how they interpret the events of the war, some are not so happy about revisiting this part of history. 

"Anytime we get additional green space in the city that’s a great thing, but I don’t think it’s something people in Memphis are going to come to Memphis to see," said resident Mike DeSilva.

"I think there’s better ways to put money into other places in Memphis," resident Mary Smith said.

Even Tim Sampson with the Memphis Flyer weighed in on the controversy by saying:

"You all can congregate, commemorate, and collectively celebrate the Confederacy (I, personally, am a slave to alliteration) anytime, anywhere you like, but please don’t put a bunch of tacky old cannons in Confederate Park and someone please change that park’s name!" 

"They’re going to object to anything that has the word Confederacy attached to it; however, both parties need to understand that’s our history," Tarry Beasley said.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans says it needs at least three thousand dollars more to reach its final goal.

Copyright 2012 WMC-TV.

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