Commission Votes To Move Confederate Statues Out Of State Capitol

Tennessee Capitol Building in Nashville

Photo: Nathan Bedford Forrest bust at Tennessee Capitol in Nashville

Photo Credit: Public Domain

Published March 10, 2021

[The Tennessee Conservative Staff]

Nashville, TN – The Tennessee Historical Commission voted on Tuesday to allow the bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest to be moved from the Tennessee State Capitol.

After a nearly six-hour virtual meeting filled with testimony from varying sides, commission members made the decision to have the Forrest bust moved to the Tennessee State Museum with a vote of 25-1.

The single vote of no came from Joanne Cullom Moore, a Commission member from Shelby County who represents West Tennessee. Moore said she never received the email of provisions being discussed from the Historical Commission.

Along with the Forrest bust, the removal will also include busts of U.S. Admiral David Farragut and U.S. Navy Admiral Albert Gleaves. All three of the busts can currently be found on the second floor of the State Capitol building.

The process was begun in July when the Capitol Commission voted to initiate the move. Winter storms postponed the original meeting scheduled for February.

Many find the bust to be controversial because of Forrest’s history as a Confederate General, plantation and slave owner, and founding member of the KKK. The bust has been on display in the Capitol for just over 40 years.

The original petition by the State Capitol Commission states that Commission members “acknowledged the tension created between history, in recognition of Forrest’s impact on and contributions to military history, and the negative symbolism the presence of the Forrest bust represents to many today.”

Governor Bill Lee has also previously spoken out in favor of the move.

In a July press release, Gov. Lee said that “the most appropriate way to give full context to this complicated life is to put the bust in the state museum where the very purpose is to see and understand our history in full.”

Not all legislators are in favor of the move. There is a dispute over whether statute gives the decision over to the Capitol Commission or the Legislature. Lt. Gov. Randy McNally and Speaker Cameron Sexton have asked for an opinion from the attorney general in regards to the issue.

A spokesperson for Lt. Gov. McNally said that the Republican Senate Speaker “has always been clear his personal preference is that the bust remain and context be added. Regardless of his personal preference, he has always been adamant the law be followed. That does not appear to have happened here.”

The move may not be immediate, however. Tennessee’s Heritage Protection Act gives the Commission 30 days to post the final ruling online. Anyone opposing that decision will have two months to appeal it in court.

After Tuesday’s vote, Gov. Lee tweeted, “We respect the thoughtful process addressing the location of the Forrest, Farragut and Gleaves busts. Today the Historical Commission approved that the State Museum should be the new home, and I believe this process should begin as soon as possible.”

Hedy Weinberg, Executive Director for the ACLU of Tennessee, praised the decision, “Removing the bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest from the Capitol would move us a step closer toward ensuring that the history we choose to celebrate and honor in our public spaces reflects respect and dignity for al Tennesseans.”

Once the statues are moved, a decision must be made on which historical figures will replace them in the State Capitol. One lawmaker suggested that consideration be given to women who were influential in Tennessee’s history.

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10 thoughts on “Commission Votes To Move Confederate Statues Out Of State Capitol

  • March 10, 2021 at 5:19 pm
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    This is just another disgraceful act by the historical commission by bowing down to the Communist/Leftist/ Demoncrats. If the Republicans had a backbone, which they apparently don’t, this bowing down to the enemies of our culture calling themselves ” cancel culture ” would be stopped in it’s tracks. In fact we need to put up more statues of our Southern Heroes and by the way why put up statues of women specifically ? Again this sounds like caving in to the Marxist Left and should be stopped now. I’d like to know what committee members and/or legislators abdicated to the Marxists so I’d make sure I never voted for them.

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  • March 10, 2021 at 5:24 pm
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    Because of the current beliefs of today we must now bow to the political correctness views. Gen Forrest has never been proven to be a leader of the KKK. We now are forced to kneel to the new masters. What if in a hundred years the area in Memphis where the MLK Civil Rights Museum is located that the area is settled by Muslims and they want to get rid of the Museum due to the Christian relationship to MLK. Will the new beliefs of the people have the right to bulldoze the Museum? In the current climate it would be. Be careful what you wish for.

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  • March 10, 2021 at 6:53 pm
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    Stop tearing down our statues and history!!!

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  • March 10, 2021 at 8:06 pm
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    A decision based on lies! By a bunch of spineless snakes . Makes me ashamed to be from the state of Tennessee!

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  • March 10, 2021 at 8:19 pm
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    Re: The proposed removal of N.B.F. bust from the capitol. Please tell me why we have to be in bed with the leaders of Cancel Culture by removing our history? Most Tennessee folks are proud of their history, though social sensibilities have changes is no reason for us to be ashamed of our roots. Why insult the many to cater to the few? Displaying Bedford Forrest’s bust does not say we approve of slavery. I dare say that if he were alive today, he would be against slavery.

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  • March 11, 2021 at 3:24 am
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    Is Gov. Lee a Descendant of “Robert E. Lee” ? If So, Should’nt He be Taken Down !

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  • March 11, 2021 at 6:38 am
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    If confederate statues are removed then remove all statues. Every single one regardless. Confederates are being denied our history and we Republicans have been denied to have our votes counted‼️
    What’s next⁉️🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸🇺🇸

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  • March 11, 2021 at 5:22 pm
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    Stop being wimps to political correctness and cancel culture and stand up for what is right and history!! They will never be satisfied. Once all statues are removed, there will be a completely different demand. It will never stop. There will always be another demand until we do not recognize our own country.

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  • March 12, 2021 at 12:11 pm
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    Know who voted for for it and remember at election time.

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  • March 12, 2021 at 1:26 pm
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    This is a total disgrace to the history of our great state. The commission and governor have let Tennesseans down. Each of you how voted for the removal of these statues are cowards and should be removed from you positions!

    Reply

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