Two Confederate statues came down in Memphis on a dramatic night that had been months in the planning. Statues of Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest were removed from two parks Wednesday night after the city sold the parks to a nonprofit called Memphis Greenspace Inc. for $1,000 each, the Commercial Appeal reports. The City Council voted unanimously earlier Wednesday to sell the parks, a move that allowed the legal removal of the statues. The city had been barred from taking down the Confederate statues under the Tennessee Heritage Protection Act, which bans the removal or renaming of memorials on public land, the New York Times reports.
In October, a state agency rejected the city's request to waive the heritage law and allow the removal of the two statues. The Greenspace nonprofit was incorporated the same month. Memphis Chief Legal Officer Bruce McMullen says the two statues will be stored in an undisclosed location, the AP reports. The Times reports that onlookers cheered as a crane lifted the statue of Forrest—a former slave trader, alleged war criminal, and early Ku Klux Klan member—from its pedestal, with some chanting "Hey hey! Ho ho! That racist statue has got to go." "History is being made tonight," said Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland in a long series of tweets explaining the move, which comes ahead of the 50th anniversary of the Memphis assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.