• Breakdown of why Memphis Greenspace, Inc. wanted Confederate statues taken down

    By: Tom Dees


    MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Van Turner of Memphis Greenspace said he wanted the statues removed in order to open the parks to everyone. He said when his father was young, that was not the case. 

    "They weren't even allowed to walk through the park and if they could walk through the park they couldn't sit down because they were African-American. There was segregation and it was Jim Crow Memphis," Turner said. 

    Turner said the parks were purchased and the statues were removed using money donated by private individuals. 

    Van Turner told FOX13 if a Civil War Museum or if the Sons of Confederate veterans are interested in buying the statues, he was certainly negotiate that. 

    "I think that would be a great idea to move the statues to a Civil War memorial. I think that would be appropriate," Turner said. 

    The bodies of Nathan Bedford Forrest and his wife are still buried at the park, according to Turner.

    There has been talk of respectfully returning them to Elmwood Cemetery where they were initially buried. The Sons of Confederate Veterans said the Forrest family is opposed to that. 

    Some believe Turner and the Greenspace Organization has destroyed history. 

    "No sir. History is created every day, what we are doing here is history," Turner said.

    Turner says he knows lawsuits are likely coming he's an attorney himself.

    "I have represented folks, and I have been sued by folks. That is something I'm used to," Turner said. 

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