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In Memphis, discord over renaming parks and dropping their associations to past Confederacy

  • In this Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013 photo, visitors take pictures of a statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest on his horse at a park named after the confederate cavalryman in Memphis Tenn. The Memphis City Council has voted to rename Forrest Park and two other Confederate-themed parks. (AP Photo/Adrian Sainz)The Associated Press

  • Jennifer Ward, left, and Carey Rhoades enjoy the weather alongside a bust of Captain J. Harvey Mathes in Confederate Park in Downtown Memphis, Tenn., Feb. 5, 2013. Memphis City Council hastily voted this week to change the names of three Confederate themed parks, including this one, to quell community controversy and to beat a law potentially being enacted in the Tennessee legislature that would have prevented them from renaming them. (AP Photo/The Commercial Appeal, Alan Spearman)The Associated Press

  • FILE - In this Friday, May 10, 2005 file photo, a statue of Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest stands in Nathan Bedford Forrest Park in Memphis, Tenn. Nearly 150 years after the Civil War ended, Forrest continues to spark new political battles and racial discord in Memphis. On Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013, the Memphis City Council voted to rename the park in the heart of Memphis, where Forrest himself is buried. The council also renamed two other parks that honored Confederate Civil War heritage. (AP Photo/The Commercial Appeal, Lance Murphey, File)The Associated Press

  • In this Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013 photo, a trolley car passes in front of Jefferson Davis Park in Memphis, Tenn. The Memphis City Council has voted to rename Jefferson Davis Park and two other Confederate-themed parks located in the city . (AP Photo/Adrian Sainz)The Associated Press

  • In this Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2013 photo, Confederate Park in downtown Memphis provides a view of the Mississippi River on an overcast day in Memphis, Tenn. The park and two other Confederacy-themed parks, are being renamed by the Memphis City Council. (AP Photo/Adrian Sainz)The Associated Press

The legacy of onetime Confederate fighter and slave trader Nathan Bedford Forrest has sparked new discord in Memphis amid moves to rename parks whose very names recall the Old South.

Fresh division arose before the Memphis City Council voted recently to rename Nathan Bedford Forrest Park in Memphis, where a statue of Forrest stands and the general is buried. The council also voted to rename two other parks whose names evoke the Confederate Civil War heritage.

The fight over Forrest highlights a broader debate over what Confederate figures should represent in the 21st century. Other U.S. cities also have wrestled with the issue of naming parks and buildings after Confederate figures.

Some insist changing names to remove Confederate associations rewrites history. But others say dropping the associations is long overdue.