Chattanooga seeks to renounce Confederate cemetery

Chattanooga seeks to renounce Confederate cemetery

August 18th, 2017 by Staff Report in Breaking News
Site of Chattanooga Confederate Cemetery.

Site of Chattanooga Confederate Cemetery.

Illustration by Laura McNutt /Times Free Press.

Chattanooga is moving to renounce its position as a trustee of the Confederate Cemetery on East Third Street, according to a news release from Mayor Andy Berke's office.

"Our action today makes it clear that the City of Chattanooga condemns white supremacy in every way, shape and form," Berke said in the release.

"While we honor our dead, we do not honor the principle for which they fought. Our city should be invested in our future, not a discredited past. Confederates fought against America to preserve slavery. That is the truth, and we should no longer subsidize any myths to the contrary."

The release states the city is not on the deed for the land, but Berke also has asked City Attorney Wade Hinton to file paperwork to confirm Chattanooga is the city is no longer listed as one of the cemetery trustees.

Hinton said the city has allowed the Sons of Confederate Veterans to make repairs to the cemetery under the assumption the city owned the property. A review of records showed "this does not appear to be the case," Hinton said.

"There is no reason why we should have any responsibility for maintaining the Confederate Cemetery — a property we do not actually own."

The release said the terms of the cemetery trust have expired. It said the city will ask Hamilton County Chancery Court for a ruling on its status as a trustee and to determine who owns and must maintain the property.