NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A protest Wednesday called for the removal of the Nathan Bedford Forrest bust from the Tennessee State Capitol.
Tensions ran high Tuesday when lawmakers spent hours in separate hearings about Forrest.
He was a Confederate General during the civil war and an early leader of the Ku Klux Klan.
Lawmakers have debated for years about where his bust should be located.
A bill eliminating Nathan Bedford Forrest Day passed a house committee by one vote Tuesday afternoon.
“How dare us support Nathan Bedford Forrest. That’s who he is. You are either going to vote for a man who is a mass murderer of hundreds of African Americans who sold us into slavery and made millions of dollars, or you are going to vote to be progressive and move this state forward an retell the history so that everybody knows they are welcome to Tennessee by not giving this man a day, you have 2 options as a legislator, we get a yes and a no,” said Representative London Lamar.
In a house committee, a bill proposed to remove the bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest was voted down with 5 votes in favor and 11 against.
“People out there know how somebody black feels about this, the ones that will be heroes the ones that will be brave are you men and women standing right here, you are the ones if you support this, vote yes out of here, you are the ones who are going to catch hell. Sometimes you have to catch a little hell to do right,” said Democratic representative Rick Staples.
Organizers of the I Will Breathe rally protested for the removal of the bust from the State Capitol. The rally started at 3:00 p.m. at the legislative plaza.
”We’re not addressing the problem, we won’t address the real problem if we take the bust down. Who are we going to put up? Who decides what is ethical, what is right?” said Republican Representative Jerry Sexton.