The remains of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest and his wife are being removed from a Memphis park

On Tuesday, work began on exhuming the remains of General Nathan Bedford Forrest from Health Sciences Park.

(CNN)Crews have started to remove the remains of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest and his wife from a Memphis park where a monument of him once stood.

The decision to move their remains was decided last year after the Sons of Confederate Veterans, a non-profit organization of male descendants of Confederate veterans, agreed to drop a pending lawsuit against park owners, according to CNN affiliate WREG.
Forrest, who was a slave trader and early Ku Klux Klan leader, and his wife, Mary Ann, had their graves at Health Sciences Park, where a monument to Forrest used to be.
    The work to remove the remains started Tuesday morning and is being paid for by the Sons of the Confederate Veterans, Lee Millar a spokesperson for the group and fifth cousin of Forrest, told CNN.
      The disinterment is expected to take three weeks, Millar said. Forrest and his wife will be reinterred on private land that will be publicly accessible in Columbia, Tennessee.

      The years long battle over the remains

      City leaders voted in 2013 to change the name of three parks that honored Confederate figures in Memphis. Then, in 2015, they voted to move the Forrest statue.
        To proceed with the removal, they sought a waiver from the Tennessee Heritage Protection Act, a law that governs the removal, relocation or renaming of memorials on public property. But the Tennessee Historical Commission denied the city's request.