Building Commission Expected To Vote In Favor Of Removing Forrest Bust From Capitol (Update)

Photo: Nathan Bedford Forrest Bust at Tennessee State Capitol

Photo Credit: CC / Background: Joey Rozier / CC

***Updated July 23, 2021***

The State Building Commission voted on Thursday, giving final approval for the relocation of the bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest from the Capitol to the Tennessee State Museum. The process took over a year to complete after Governor Bill Lee said that it needed to be moved.

Lee spoke prior to the meeting.

“it’s been a year long journey, and this is an appropriate step in that process. It’s most important to me that we followed the process. We talked about that from the very beginning,” Lee said.

Just after the meeting, crews prepared for the removal, and it is expected to be moved on today, July 23rd.

Original story -Published July 22, 2021

The Tennessee Conservative [By Jason Vaughn] –

After years of controversy, the bust of Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest is set to be removed from the state Capitol later this week.

The State Building Commission will vote this morning (July 22) to confirm the removal. Sources say Governor Bill Lee has arranged for the bust to be moved to the Tennessee State Museum by the end of the week, if that vote comes back in favor of the removal.

Tennessee Capitol Building in Nashville

The governor’s office has not yet made an announcement about the removal, but they have scheduled a news conference to be held before the Building Commission meeting this morning.

Earlier in the month Casey Black, spokesperson for Lee’s office, released a statement saying, “We are working to determine next steps and will provide updates accordingly. Our plans have not changed.”

The bust, which was placed in the Capitol in 1978, has come under fire in recent years with critics arguing that a place of honor should not be given to someone who was affiliated with slave trading and the Ku Klux Klan.

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Last year, Governor Lee stated that he was in favor of relocating the bust, saying it would be better placed in a location where it would have “context.”

“Forrest represents pain and suffering and brutal crimes committed against African Americans, and that pain is very real for our fellow Tennesseans,” Lee stated.

Law stipulated that the governor must wait 120 days after the March vote to relocate the statue. That time period ended on July 9.

Governor Lee serves as the chairman of the Building Commission, but he does not typically attend the routine meetings. He is expected, however, to show up for the meeting on Thursday.

It is expected that the vote to approve the relocation will pass. Lee’s vote could serve as a tiebreaker if needed.

Originally, Lee’s office planned to only have the Capitol Commission and the Tennessee Historical Commission vote on the issue. However, Lt. Governor Randy McNally and House Speaker Cameron Sexton argued that state law required that the Building Commission also vote for its removal.

McNally, a Republican from Oak Ridge, has opposed the bust’s removal from the Capitol but has not given any indication that he will go any further to prevent it. Other lawmakers who will be casting a vote on Thursday have had changing opinions throughout recent years.

“Due to shifting public positions of many who will be voting on Thursday, Lt. Governor McNally hesitates to speculate on the outcome,” said spokesperson Adam Kleinheider.

The comment refers to Secretary of State Tre Hargett, state Treasurer David Lillard, and now-retired comptroller Justin Wilson, who all changed their votes between 2017 and 2020. They originally voted against the removal in a 2017 Capitol Commission vote but voted in favor of it in 2020. The new Comptroller, Jason Mumpower, is expected to vote in favor of the removal.

Lee’s office says, “This final step will ensure there is no room for doubt in the process. The goal has not changed, and guidance on next steps will be provided at the end of the week.”

Along with the Forrest bust, the state will also move the busts of U.S. Admirals David Farragut and Albert Gleaves. The current plan is to create a military exhibit at the Tennessee State Museum.

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About the Author:

Jason Vaughn, Media Coordinator for The Tennessee Conservative 

Jason previously worked for a legacy publishing company based in Crossville, TN in a variety of roles through his career.  Most recently, he served as Deputy Directory for their flagship publication. Prior, he was a freelance journalist writing articles that appeared in the Herald Citizen, the Crossville Chronicle and The Oracle among others.  He graduated from Tennessee Technological University with a Bachelor’s in English-Journalism, with minors in Broadcast Journalism and History.  Contact Jason at

6 thoughts on “Building Commission Expected To Vote In Favor Of Removing Forrest Bust From Capitol (Update)

  • July 22, 2021 at 4:30 pm

    The Building Commission and Governor Lee are a disgrace. Typical RINOs !

    This is the treachery that gives the Republicrat Party a bad name. Spineless is what they are .

    There will be no more support from me or my friends and family because of the irresistible urge of RINOs to bow down to the ” Woke Mob “. This act of cowardice will not be forgotten.

    • July 22, 2021 at 6:41 pm

      Repeat a lie often enough and it becomes the truth. Forrest never was in the KKK. Try to prove he was. Yes he was a Slave Trader and slave owner. Something perfectly legal at the time. His bust doesn’t represent everyone. True but show me one that will. Let’s just remove all Monuments and replace them with a numbered plaque so it can be looked up to find out what it is. Let’s change all the street names to numbers and letters as not to offend anyone in the future. I have a question, why is the US Flag flying on top of a State Capitol? That offends me.

  • July 22, 2021 at 6:20 pm

    This is disgusting! Although it’s “just moving a statue”, the underlying message is that having fought on the side of the Confederacy in the Civil War is something we should be ashamed of, when in fact, the truth is quite the opposite. The revisionist history we were all taught in school paints a wholly inaccurate picture. Once you come to understand that the Civil War was not fought over slavery, but unfair taxation, the very same powder keg that set off the Revolutionary War, that the South’s position was 100% in the right and admirable, you realize that having relatives who fought for the Confederacy is something you can be extremely proud of. These men who fought and died were literally the last people to “fight for your freedom”. Sadly they lost, and the whole country, not just the South, lost a huge chunk of their freedom along with it. State sovereignty was severely weakened, and the era of a big, centralized federal government was ushered in.

    • July 23, 2021 at 12:56 am

      Absolutely, gentlemen, well said. The truly sad thing is politicians who say one thing to get elected and then stick their finger in the air to see which way the wind is blowing. So many Republicans are politicians, when we need statesman. Lack of principles and a tendency to lie is really going to hurt these politicians.

  • July 22, 2021 at 9:30 pm

    The empty pedestals where Confederate monuments once stood do not represent the removal of white supremacy, they represent the domination of black supremacy. Civil rights/BLM organizations do not act to provide equal representation for black history, they act to remove, erase and destroy white history. They act to remove civil rights from Confederate descendant Americans. There is no reason to demand removal of white history/rights in order to bring about equality for blacks. Democrats/civil rights/BLM are black supremacist organizations, not right’s organizations. The massive numbers of civil rights organizations has created a racist super-monopoly, super-power with legal, political, social media and exploiting whites into being racists capabilities to intimidate politicians, commissions, corporations, universities, schools, institutions etc. into bending to their will…..or else!! The USA does not have problems with white supremacy, it has enormous problems with black supremacy!!

  • July 23, 2021 at 4:20 pm

    Only fools remove/erase history, only to watch it repeat its roll back into our society once again. We people have been handling racial problems for years and now all of a sudden a bust of someone who died October 29, 1877. think about how many years that bust has been around. It is designed to be around for what not to do, Not necessarily what to repeat. erase it and watch our country go deeper into racial problems, I have been socially living life since 1963 and have I only been accused of being a racist a few times, both times was strange situation and I remedied the problem with kind words. So people stop with forcing and demanding and try loving one another racism is like marriages a two way party so before you jab my heart prick your own heart and ask yourself are you bitter over something that ended over 200 years ago. just a quick thought I wanted to share. how can anyone see colors in this day and time we all have a mixed race child as a friend or family member these days.


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