In light of the violent protests this past weekend in Charlottesville, Va., by white supremacists and this Monday’s protest by Moral Movement Tennessee concerning controversial symbols of the Confederacy at the state Capitol, Gov. Bill Haslam is recommending the removal of the Nathan Bedford Forrest bust housed there.
Along with being a military strategist and Confederate general born in Middle Tennessee, Forrest was, at one time, a Ku Klux Klan leader and that fact has incited some. Later, however, Forrest renounced the KKK and advocated for “social and political advancement for blacks.”
Removal of the bust requires two-thirds approval of the Tennessee Historical Commission. The first call to remove the statue came in 2015 after the Charleston, S.C., shooting, but the Legislature responded last year by passing the Tennessee Heritage Protection Act, which makes it more difficult to remove statues or rename streets dedicated to controversial figures from public property.
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