NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The bust of a Confederate general inside the Tennessee state capitol isn’t going anywhere without a legal fight.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans, along with its state’s division and local Joe Johnston Camp #28 filed a lawsuit against the Tennessee Capitol Commission and State of Tennessee Monday to keep the bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest right where it is on the capitol’s second floor between the House and Senate chambers.
The capitol commission earlier this summer took the first step to remove the Forrest bust and put it in the Tennessee State Museum, but the lawsuit says the commission “did not have jurisdiction of the second floor of the Capitol” and wants to commission’s decision to be declared “null and void” by a Davidson County Chancery Court.
The lawsuit argues “the Forrest bust and its placement were directed by legislative action and can only be altered by subsequent direct legislative action…”
The lawsuit indicates in 1973, the “Tennessee State Senate passed a Joint Resolution, with the concurrence of the House of Representatives, regarding the creation and placement of the historical bust of Confederate Lt. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest.”
Funds for the bust were raised the Sons of Confederate Veterans, its Tennessee Division and the Joe Johnston Camp #28 and the bust was placed on the capitol’s 2nd floor in 1978.
Governor Bill Lee spoke at the Tennessee Capitol Commission meeting July 9th where he urged its members to take action on the bust.
A previous attempt to remove the Confederate general’s bust from the capitol failed at the commission in 2017.
Forrest was revered for his tactics during the Civil War, but reviled as a slave trader before the conflict.