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Black Caucus Members Angry Over "Dishonest" Passage Of Bill Mentioning Nathan Bedford Forrest

Posted at 10:37 PM, Apr 27, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-27 23:44:16-04

Some lawmakers have spoken out against what some have called a "despicable, dishonest" act.

They said Rep. Mike Sparks (R-Smyrna) tried to get a resolution passed that they say honors Confederate General and Ku Klux Klan leader Nathan Bedford Forrest.

On April 13, that resolution was bunched together with other resolutions and passed in a consent calendar vote.

Members of the House Black Caucus said the title of the resolution was misleading, saying it was honoring Pastor Shane E. Kastler, a biographer of Forrest.

But after the resolution's passage, lawmakers said they were shocked to learn the bill also contained language about Forrest himself, saying he was "viewed by some as a Civil War hero - a military genius and cavalry leader" and "a leader in the earliest iteration of the Ku Klux Klan" who "eventually left the group and renounced its racist actions."

Black Caucus members said Sparks should have made clear what the resolution contained before placing it on the House Consent Calendar, which is usually reserved for non-controversial items.

"This is a national embarrassment for me and my colleagues, that we unwittingly voted to celebrate Nathan Bedford Forrest, also known as 'The Butcher' Forrest," said Rep. Antonio Parkinson (D-Memphis). 

NewsChannel 5 contacted Rep. Sparks' office Wednesday but did not hear back.

Members of the Black Caucus said they will likely sign onto a new resolution rebutting the one that was already passed.