NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Tennessee officials voted on the removal of the bust of Ku Klux Klan leader and Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest from the State Capitol.
At the conclusion of the voting, the State Building Commission voted to agree with the Historical Commission’s decision earlier this year to remove the bust and two others, Admiral David Glasgow Farragut and Admiral Albert Gleaves, and move them to the Tennessee State Museum.
Governor Bill Lee has expressed support for moving the bust, which was installed at the Capitol in 1978 and has sparked protests and demonstrations.
Forrest was a Confederate cavalry general who amassed a fortune as a plantation owner and slave trader in Memphis before the Civil War. His involvement with the Klan came after the war.
House Speaker Cameron Sexton issued the following statement after the vote:
“There has only been one perfect person to walk on this earth – everyone else has fallen short. Our country was established by imperfect people who made a great country that stands for hope, opportunity, and liberty.
“Trying to judge past generations’ actions based on today’s values and the evolution of societies is not an exercise I am willing to do because I think it is counterproductive.
“It is much more productive to learn from our past and not repeat the imperfections of the past. Any attempt to erase the past only aligns society with the teaching of communism, which believes the present dominates the past.
“From the very beginning, the legislature has tried to follow the process and procedure in a respectful manner, and we did that today. Moving forward, the legislature will be working on revising current law to include a more significant voice of those elected.”