Panel recommends removing Forrest bust from Capitol


(Photo: WKRN)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN/AP) — A panel voted to recommend that a bust of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest be removed from the Capitol on Thursday.

But he’s not the only one who could be soon taking up new residence.

WKRN’s Chris Bundgaard reported that the statutes of Adm. David Farragut and Adm. Albert Gleaves may also be moved to the State Museum for future exhibits on Tennessee military heroes.

The last minute amendment was approved with a 9-2 vote.

Thursday’s meeting was the first of two votes needed to remove the bust from the Capitol. Governor Bill Lee announced Wednesday he thinks the bust should go in the state museum.

The bust was unveiled in 1978 and has sparked multiple protests demanding its removal over the years. The Capitol Commission in 2017 voted against moving it to the state museum.

The removal would also need approval from the state’s Historical Commission. Some Republican officials have instead suggested adding context to the bust and leaving it where it is.

Governor Bill Lee released a statement saying,”I commend members of the State Capitol Commission for taking up the Nathan Bedford Forrest bust issue and arriving at a thoughtful resolution that provides important historical context for the bust at the State Museum. Scripture implores us to live in peaceful unity and I believe today’s actions reflect this and our commitment to remembering all parts of our past.”

Sen. Raumesh Akbari (D-Memphis) said she applauded the panel’s decision.

“Our nation is in a moment for racial healing and justice, but healing and justice requires a reckoning,” she said. “Just as Nathan Bedford Forrest is a symbol for white supremacy, removing his bust from our Capitol is a symbolic beginning for a renewed justice movement in Tennessee.”

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