After Dylann Roof shot and killed nine people at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, the movement to remove Confederate monuments from cities in the South was given new life. Unfortunately, it also led to incidents like white nationalists rioting in Charlottesville. In an effort to avoid a repeat of the Virginia violence while also ridding itself of statues of Jefferson Davis (the Confederate president) and Nathan Bedford Forrest (an early KKK leader), the city of Memphis quietly sold two parks last year to a nonprofit in order to remove the statues without violating the state’s law regarding the removal of “historical” monuments.
Now, the city is being punished by the state legislature. In what can only be described as a retaliatory measure, the Republican-led Tennessee House voted Tuesday for a last minute amendment to a budget resolution that stripped the city of Memphis of $250,000 that was earmarked for its bicentennial celebration.
The Associated Press reports that State Rep. Antonio Parkinson, an African-American, called the tactic “vile and racist” before apparently being greeted with boos from his fellow legislators. “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. In response, GOP state lawmakers have said that their decision to levy punishment was based upon the law to preserve historical statues, but this certainly won’t be the end of the controversy.
(Via Associated Press)