Land owners to specify plans for Nathan Bedford Forrest statue on I-65

Nathan bedford forrest i65 statue
Posted at 3:02 PM, Dec 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-17 19:27:39-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — The future of the controversial statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest along Interstate 65 in Nashville remains in limbo now that its owner Bill Dorris has died.

NewsChannel5 has obtained a copy of Dorris' will, which sets up a potential legal battle and also leaves millions to a pet dog.

The main question now: What happens to his controversial statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest - which is still standing on the interstate painted in pink.

The statue has been there on I-65 since 1998 and was vandalized over the years - most recently with pink paint, something Dorris had decided to leave alone.

"You say that's pink? A real good color don't you think pink," said Dorris at the time.

The 73-year-old man died in November, raising questions about the future of the statue.

In his will, Dorris set up a trust for the property with the statue and left it to either the Sons of Confederate Veterans or the Battle of Nashville Preservation Society - now known as the Battle of Nashville Trust.

A probate judge will decide which group will take ownership of the property and that decision may well determine whether the statue stays or goes.

The SCV declined to comment, but the Battle of Nashville Trust has indicated it would likely remove the statue because historically the piece of property was not part of the Battle of Nashville and Forrest was not involved in that battle. Dorris was not a member of the Battle of Nashville Trust.

One other interesting element from the will: Dorris, a successful businessman, was not married and had no children. So, he also specified that $5 million be put in a trust to care for his pet border collie, Lulu.

There is much here that still has to be litigated and the will is likely going to be contested, but the future of the statue should be known by early next year.