New Historic Marker to be Unveiled at Site of Forrest Slave Mart on April 4

For Immediate Release
March 2, 2018

(Memphis, Tenn.)—Calvary Episcopal Church, in collaboration with Rhodes College, will unveil and dedicate a new historic marker at the site of the antebellum slave mart operated by Nathan Bedford Forrest in Memphis, Tenn. The marker, to be dedicated on April 4, 2018, will be placed near the corner of Adams Ave. and B.B. King in Downtown Memphis.

The dedication of the marker will occur as part of a “Service of Remembrance and Reconciliation,” to be held at Calvary at 12 p.m. on April 4. The Rev. Scott Walters, rector of Calvary Church, and the Rev. Dorothy Wells, a 1982 graduate of Rhodes and rector of St. George’s Episcopal Church in Germantown, Tenn., will officiate.

An existing marker, placed by the Tennessee Historical Commission in 1955, mentions only that Forrest had a home at the site and that he became wealthy from his “business enterprises.” It neglects to mention that Forrest’s home stood adjacent to the slave yard, which Forrest owned and operated between 1854 and 1860. As a slave trader, Forrest sold thousands of enslaved men, women, and children at the site. It is believed that most ended up on plantations in the Mississippi Delta region. The trade occurred next to Calvary Church, which had been built in 1843 at the corner of Adams and Second. The property owned by Forrest is now part of the church’s parking lot.

Last fall, students in Prof. Timothy Huebner’s “Historical Methods” class at Rhodes College researched and wrote the text for the new marker. Based on extensive work in local libraries and archives, students identified some of the names of the enslaved persons sold by Forrest. A portion of these names will be read during the service.

The dedication of the marker, which is supported by grants from the Tennessee Civil War National Heritage Area and the National Park Service, is an MLK50 Event, part of the commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the death of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in Memphis.

For more information on this event, contact Director of Communications Robyn Banks, Calvary Episcopal Church, at 901-525-6602 or rbanks@calvarymemphis.org. For more information on the students’ research, contact Prof. Timothy Huebner, huebner@rhodes.edu, or see his article in The Commercial Appeal.

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