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Capitol commission to vote on removing Nathan Bedford Forrest bust

Posted at 3:24 PM, Jul 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-01 23:39:04-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The State Capitol Commission will meet next week to discuss removing the bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest from the Tennessee capitol building.

Forrest is a controversial figure in the state's history. As slave trader and the first Grand Wizard of the Klu Klux Klan, he is also known as a historic general in the Confederate Army.

During a press conference on Wednesday, Gov. Bill Lee said he expects the group to vote on whether to move the bust.

"I have confidence that our process here in Tennessee with the capitol commission will be fair and representative of Tennesseans," Gov. Lee said.

The commission, which is responsible for historical displays in the capitol, will meet electronically on July 9.

Dr. James Hildreth, infectious disease expert and President & CEO of Nashville’s Meharry Medical College issued a statement, saying the bust should be removed.

“Nathan Bedford Forrest should not be so prominently displayed in the capitol of the State of Tennessee. When I see him, what I see is the lifeless bodies of Black folks hanging from trees. I smell burning flesh and I hear the moans and wails of families watching their families being killed. Maybe if they saw what I saw, heard what I heard and smelled what I smell when they looked at this thing they would understand why this raises so much emotion for us.”