Forrest Monument case might be near resolution

Published 12:40 am Saturday, November 9, 2013

A settlement option may be presented to the Selma City Council in a lawsuit over a monument to Confederate general and Klu Klux Klan leader Nathan Bedford Forrest.

Seven members of the Selma City Council and Selma Mayor George Evans met with KTK Mining and its attorneys Friday in a settlement conference that lasted seven hours.

A gag order prevented attorneys, city officials and KTK Mining from talking about specifics of the conference, but John W. Kelly III said a settlement proposal might have been reached and the lawsuit dropped.

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“Everything is confidential, but there may be an agreement presented in the next 30 days to the city council,” Kelly said. “If the council approves an agreement, that could lead to a resolution.”

The lawsuit arose from a 2012 decision by the Selma City Council to suspend KTK Mining’s construction permit on the Forrest monument after questions were raised about who owned Confederate Circle — a tract of land containing the monument.

The monument was originally unveiled in 2000 at the Vaughan-Smitherman Museum. It was moved to the cemetery after the monument was vandalized and defaced.

In March 2012, the monument’s bronze bust was stolen, which led to the group Friends of Forrest developing plans for the monument’s relocation.

Protests began again after construction to replace the bust and construct a more secure display started. Shortly after the protests began, the council suspended the permit after questions arose about who owned the property and the legitimacy of the issued building permit.