Protests, petitions renew call to remove, replace mid-state Confederate street names, statues

Posted at 5:54 PM, Jun 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-08 19:48:04-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn (WTVF) — Across the country and even the world, confederate statues are coming down. Middle Tennessee is seeing the same push to remove the statues.

The statue of Edward Carmack is just one of several statues throughout the south many associated with racism and white supremacy to come down.

Those in favor of removing, renaming and changing these types of statues say it’s time.

“There’s subdivisions around here that every street is named after a confederate general,” said Pastor Kevin Riggs, “This has no place there and all it stands for is white supremacy and he was a slave trader.”

Pastor Riggs of Franklin Community Church is talking about names like Confederate Drive or Robert E. Lee Drive.

He says those names represent a south that was for slavery and racism. Riggs has fought to remove and replace confederate statues in Franklin and Nashville.

Last year, he carried a box with more than 40,000 signatures to lawmakers to remove the bust of Confederate Nathan Bedford Forrest from the state Capitol.

Since the death of George Floyd and the many "End Police Brutality" and Black Lives Matter protests, there has been another push to remove monuments, statues, and names that many say symbolizes a hateful past.

Petitions here in Middle Tennessee are calling to remove confederate street names and statues.

Riggs says he’s in support of it.

“It’s time to remove those things, it’s time to have a serious discussion about all these monuments that are around our state and it’s time to put the past behind us and move forward,” Riggs said.

Removing these statues will not come easy because many are protected by the Tennessee Heritage Protection Act which prohibits the removal, relocation, or renaming of a memorial that is, or is located on, public property.

“We don’t want to throw them away completely because we do want to remember where we came from. But having a monument in downtown squares and Capitol buildings that are to the confederacy just makes no sense,” said Riggs.

He doesn’t want them destroyed, Riggs says he just wants them moved into a place like a museum.