Tennessee Senate votes against legislation ending Nathan Bedford Forrest Day

Posted at 3:03 PM, Jun 10, 2020

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee State Senate voted not to include an amendment that would end recognizing July 13 as Nathan Bedford Forrest Day in the state.

The Statehouse did approve legislation that would no longer require Tennessee governors to issue a proclamation honoring the former Confederate general and early Ku Klux Klan leader.

An original version of the bill removed the Forrest designation entirely but it was later amended after not receiving enough support from inside the Legislature.

Tennessee lawmakers have been long resistant to calls not to honor Forrest despite requests from their black colleagues who say such prominence for a former slave trader.

In response to the vote, Sen. Brenda Gilmore said in a statement she will not be deterred.

Nathan Bedford Forrest’s legacy of racism and white supremacy has only inspired more terror, hate and division. These scars have not healed and fresh wounds open daily.

Tennesseans want desperately for our leaders to move forward together as one people — black, white and brown. But true progress on racial justice and equity must start with reconciling our past.

I am disappointed the governor did not follow through on his promise to end the state’s celebration of Nathan Bedford Forrest and I am disappointed that more of my Republican colleagues did not join in this effort to begin healing.

But I am not deterred. We will continue this conversation until we remove every symbol of hate and terror from our laws and public buildings.