TN governor candidate Mae Beavers has scathing response to removal of Confederate statues

Mae Beavers-Official Photo

Tennessee gubernatorial candidate Mae Beavers has written a scathing response after Confederate statues were removed from Memphis city parks on Wednesday night.

The City Council had earlier voted unanimously Wednesday to sell two parks where Confederate statues were located and crews began working right away to remove a statue of Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest. At the second park, a statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis was later taken down.

Beavers, a conservative Republican, called the move "politically motivated" by "individuals and groups who want to promote a divisive agenda using claims of racism and bigotry against anyone who respects history."

"Our history is not perfect, nor are the historical figures who helped shape our state and nation,” Beavers said, “but it is wrong to destroy these public monuments suddenly and in the dark of night in order to cater to the politically motivated demands of those who want to cleanse our history. There are some individuals and groups who want to promote a divisive agenda using claims of racism and bigotry against anyone who respects history and wants to preserve it. Sadly that rhetoric, and weak-kneed politicians unwilling to stand up to them and their threats of violence if they don’t get their way, is creating a climate where hysteria seems to matter more than history.”

Beavers then said the city should focus on issues that "deserve more attention," specially referring to the city's schools.

"Removing these historical monuments won’t help a single child in Memphis do better in school. Perhaps the Memphis City Council should worry more about the abysmal test scores being produced in their city schools rather than using removal of monuments as a way to distract from their failures. Removing these historical monuments won’t make the City of Memphis a bit more safe from the violence that plagues it daily and the nearly 200 homicides this year. Perhaps the Memphis City Council should focus more on creating a safer community for its citizens rather than using monuments to distract from the fact that none of those statues are a threat to the safety and security of the parks where they sit. And removing those statues will not create any new jobs or reduce the regulations that hamper small business growth in the city. Perhaps those issues deserve more attention by the Memphis City Council if they really want to improve the quality of life in Memphis."

Live video from Health Sciences Park captured cheers as the statue of Forrest was lifted off its marble base and placed on a flatbed truck late Wednesday. Police had cordoned off the area around the statue. The statue of Davis was at Fourth Bluff Park. The statues would be stored in an undisclosed location.

Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland tweeted that the work in the parks complies with state law.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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