Memphis

Thomas R Machnitzki, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 3.0)

The removal of three statues of Confederate leaders from public parks in Memphis, Tennessee, did not violate state law because they were on private property when they were torn down, a judge ruled Wednesday.

Thomas R Machnitzki, Wikimedia Commons (CC BY 3.0)

In a parting shot to Memphis or any other city that would use a legal loophole to remove Confederate statues, the Tennessee General Assembly passed a bill that makes it harder to get around the law.

In 1968, 1,300 black men from the Memphis Department of Public Works went on strike after a malfunctioning truck crushed two garbage collectors to death.

The strike led to marches with demonstrators carrying signs declaring "I Am A Man." Their organizing efforts drew support from the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. before his assassination.

It was a long time in the making, but when the statues of Confederate figures finally came down in Memphis, Tenn., it was quick work.

On Wednesday, the city sold two of its city parks – one with a statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, the other featuring a statue of Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest on horseback — for $1,000 each.

tcpalm.com

A measure that would clear the way for Tennessee cities to form municipal school systems has passed the House.

Republican Rep. Curry Todd of Collierville sponsored the proposal that passed 70-24 Monday. The companion bill was also scheduled to be taken up by the full Senate.

A bill to create a state charter authorizer has been delayed. The sponsor now says he’s listening to critics, who say the legislation unfairly singles out Nashville and Memphis.

As written, the bill would give charter schools a way to open in Tennessee’s two largest urban areas without asking the school board – officially known as the local education authority or LEA.  Rep. Mark White is the sponsor and says he could be on-board with a true statewide charter authorizer if local school boards do the initial vetting.

“If we go back to the LEAs – letting them have first input on this – this will be a statewide application,” White says.

The Army Corps of Engineers’ Memphis District and six Indian tribes signed an agreement Tuesday about the disposition and handling of human remains. Corps archaeologists have identified nearly 250 archaeological sites in the 11,000 acres of the floodway that are most susceptible to flood damage. Dr. Robert Dunn is an archaeologist with the Corps. He says his organization consulted with tribal leaders to reach an agreement that calls for the respectful treatment of human remains.

Wikimedia Commons

The Tennessee Appeals Court will hear oral arguments today to strike down the new law that requires voters to show ID at the polls. Memphis officials and two residents claim the law violates the state constitution because the only voting requirements it lists are proof of age, residency and registration. They’ve asked that if the ID requirement is upheld that the judge rule separately to allow IDs provided by the city library to be used to vote. A Nashville judge ruled that the law is constitutional in September.