Legislators could challenge the historical commission's vote on Nathan Bedford Forrest bust

nathan bedford forrest
Posted at 8:23 PM, Mar 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-12 08:08:50-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Tennessee's state legislative leadership said Thursday they believe the historical commission may have acted outside of the scope of the law when they voted to move the bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest.

Both TN Speaker of the House Cameron Sexton and Lt. Governor Randy McNally said Thursday they weren't sure the proper process was followed to remove the statue.

Nathan Bedford Forrest has been a controversial figure in the state because of his past. The capitol commission and historical commission both voted overwhelmingly to move the bust of Forrest to the state museum. Governor Bill Lee also asked the latter to do so.

However, Sexton and McNally sent a letter to Attorney General Herbert Slatery for an opinion on the matter. They believe the historical commission may not have the legal authority to remove the statue. Instead, the two leaders would have control over the second floor of the capitol building where Forrest's bust sits.

The Lt. Gov. said he wouldn't have it moved.

"My opinion has always been that we should leave it there and we should have put up context," said McNally.

He also pointed out how Forrest renounced his former affiliation with the KKK, where he was one of the first grand wizards of the racist organization.

AG Slatery hasn't made it known when or if he will release an opinion on the matter.