Statue of KKK leader and US Confederate general dismantled

Nathan Bedford Forrest's statue comes down after standing on private property for two decades

A different statue of Confederate general and early member of the Ku Klux Klan Nathan Bedford Forrest stood over his grave in Health Sciences Park in Memphis until it was removed in 2017. Reuters

A statue of a former Ku Klux Klan leader and Confederate general was dismantled after drawing the anger of passers-by for years.

The roughly eight-metre-tall statue, which portrays Nathan Bedford Forrest riding on a horse, stood alongside private property off a motorway near Nashville, Tennessee. Its removal came one year after the death of property owner Bill Dorris.

Dorris transferred the property to the Battle of Nashville Trust, which had the statue removed. It had stood in that spot for more than two decades.

Remnants of the statue were being moved to storage on the property, local news outlet WKRN reported.

In a statement, the Battle of Nashville Trust called the statue “ugly” and a “blight” on the city.

Forrest also was never present at the Battle of Nashville and “has no significance related to the battle”, the trust said.

Dorris had long refused to move the statue, ignoring those who called it a symbol of racism.

The statue had been repeatedly vandalised over the years. When it was doused in red paint, Dorris chose to leave it on the statue so it would attract more attention.

Forrest was a cotton plantation owner and became the first grand wizard of the KKK before joining the Confederate Army during the US Civil War.

The 1864 Battle of Nashville is considered a decisive battle that effectively ended Southern resistance in Tennessee for the duration of the war.

Another statue of Forrest, displayed at his grave in Memphis, was taken down in 2017. His remains were removed and transferred to a Confederacy museum earlier this year.

Updated: December 8th 2021, 4:15 PM