Tennessee state lawmakers vote to keep Nathan Bedford Forrest bust in capitol building

House committee passes bill to end Nathan Bedford Forrest Day
Debate over possible removal of Nathan Bedford Forrest bust continues
Debate over possible removal of Nathan Bedford Forrest bust continues(source: WMC Action News 5)
Updated: Jun. 9, 2020 at 3:26 PM CDT
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WMC/WSMV) - As Confederate symbols come down across the country in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death, a bust of a Confederate Army general remains in the Tennessee state capitol building.

On Tuesday, Tennessee state lawmakers voted against a resolution to remove the bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest, who was a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan.

A House committee first took up the resolution in January but voted it down 11 to 5 Tuesday, WSMV reports. If passed, the Capitol Commission and Tennessee Historical Commission would still have had to OK the plan.

A second House bill aimed at ending a legally-required day of special observation for Forrest just barely cleared its first hurdle Tuesday.

State law currently requires the Tennessee governor to proclaim every July 13 Nathan Bedford Forrest Day.

Sponsored by Rep. London Lamar, D-Memphis, the bill passed the House Naming, Designating and Private Acts Committee by a one-vote margin.

“What it means to Tennessee is that we are going to continue to move forward,” Lamar said after the bill’s passage. “We are going to continue to make Tennessee a welcoming state for everybody. That we are going to recognize that we don’t have a perfect past, but we can get it right.”

The bill now goes on to the House Calendar and Rules Committee where it can be scheduled for discussion on the full House floor.

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