Sons of Confederate Veterans Snubbed in Memphis

ForrestToday it is being reported that a committee has been organized to determine the new name of Forrest Park and two other parks named in honor of the Confederacy in Memphis, Tennessee.

Members of the committee include:

  • Council members Bill Boyd and Harold Collins, Co-chairmen
  • Reverend Keith Norman, Sr. Pastor of First Baptist Broad, current president of the NAACP
  • Jimmy Ogle, current president of the Shelby County Historical Commission
  • Larry Smith, Deputy Director of Parks & Neighborhoods for the City of Memphis
  • Michael Robinson, Chairman of African & African American Studies, LeMoyne Owen College [website indicates that he is a professor of social work]
  • Dr. Douglas Cupples, longtime professor, Department of History, University of Memphis

As the report indicates, notably absent is any representation from the Sons of Confederate Veterans.  This is a huge mistake.  Yes, spokesmen such as Lee Millar have made some absurd claims about Forrest, but the SCV is an important stakeholder in this discussion and their perspective deserves to be heard.  The Memphis City Council should embrace every opportunity to openly discuss the relevant historical, social, and racial issues surrounding these public parks and their continued maintenance.  Keeping the SCV out of these discussions will only fuel suspicion and outrage among a certain demographic.  I for one would love to see the SCV make the case for their preferred position to the entire city of Memphis.

With this latest news it looks like the city council has taken a giant leap backward.

12 comments… add one
  • Pat Young Feb 20, 2013 @ 16:09

    Interesting that Rev. Norman said he thinks the name change should not have taken place.

  • Don Shaffer Feb 19, 2013 @ 11:24

    Hi Kevin. Do you know Doug Cupples? I think the SVC will be represented in spirit, if not in person on this commission.

    • Kevin Levin Feb 19, 2013 @ 11:29

      Hi Don,

      I don’t know anything about Cupples. Regardless of his personal views I still think the SCV should be represented if only because of their outspokenness about the park.

      • Don Shaffer Feb 19, 2013 @ 11:33

        Hi Kevin. You’re no doubt right, but Cupples is probably the closest thing to a neo-Confederate in academia today. How he and Susan O’Donovan co-exist as Civil War historians in the same academic department is something I’m meaning to ask Susan one of these days when I muster the nerve.

        • Kevin Levin Feb 19, 2013 @ 11:40


          I prefer my neo-Confederates pure and not tainted by the stain of academia. 🙂

          • Don Shaffer Feb 19, 2013 @ 11:50

            Hi Kevin. I’m sure most neo-Confederates do too. 😉

            If you’re interested read some of DC’s posts in the logs of H-Civwar and H-South sometime. It will be educational. Just put “Doug Cupples” into

            • Kevin Levin Feb 19, 2013 @ 11:53

              I will take your word for it. Thanks.

            • Woodrowfan Feb 19, 2013 @ 13:20

              OK, I got out of the boat and checked. Oh My.

            • Andy Hall Feb 19, 2013 @ 15:06

              OK, I looked. Suffice to say, Professor Cupples will do an admirable job presenting the SCV’s perspective on the matter.

              • Kevin Levin Feb 19, 2013 @ 15:22

                For whatever it’s worth, I still think there is something valuable in having the SCV make the argument.

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