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Commission rejects move of Confederate statue from park

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GATLINBURG, Tenn. (AP) — The Tennessee Historical Commission is blocking a plan by Memphis city leaders to move a statue honoring a Confederate general and early Ku Klux Klan leader out of the downtown area.

The Knoxville News Sentinel reports that the commission denied an application to waive criteria for relocation of the statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest during a meeting Friday. Under the Tennessee Heritage Protection Act, the commission must approve decisions to change or remove historical war memorials on public properties.

The Memphis City Council voted in August 2015 to relocate the statue and move the buried remains of Forrest and his wife from a park near downtown Memphis. The vote came during a national wave of efforts to remove symbols of the Confederacy from public spaces following the slayings of nine black churchgoers in Charleston, South Carolina.