Slave market historical marker damaged, will be repaired
Published 10:17 am Monday, July 20, 2020
MEMPHIS (AP) — A historical marker in Tennessee noting the location of a slave market owned by Nathan Bedford Forrest was cracked from its base in a possible act of vandalism, officials said.
The marker outside the Calvary Episcopal Church in downtown Memphis was broken apart sometime Saturday and wasn’t on display Sunday morning, news outlets reported.
The 2018 marker titled “Forrest and the Memphis Slave Trade” pinpoints the location of Forrest’s slave market and explains his part in slave trading, stating Forrest “engaged in the buying and selling of Africans illegally smuggled into the United States, in violation of an 1808 congressional ban.”
The marker was built to provide context to a 1955 marker titled “Forrest’s Early Home.” The nearby marker said the former Confederate Army general and Ku Klux Klan member’s “business enterprises made him wealthy” but didn’t specify that some of the enterprises were slave trading. That marker wasn’t defaced.
Tim Huebner, a Rhodes College history professor and member of Calvary Episcopal Church, said he doesn’t believe the marker was accidentally broken.
Huebner said he wasn’t sure why the marker was vandalized but added that “we are in the middle of a great reckoning on the issue of race right now.”
The broken marker was being stored in the church, Huebner said. The church is looking to repair the marker with help from the Metal Museum.