NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – A top state Republican legislative leader now supports removing the bust of a Confederate war general from the state capitol building.
The Nathan Bedford Forrest bust has been there since the late 1970s with controversy never far from it.
“Another thing that will come up this year is Nathan Bedford Forrest,” said House Republican Caucus Chair Jeremy Faison during an interview this week about the upcoming legislative session.
Outside of previous Governor Bill Haslam, Rep. Faison has been one of the few Tennessee Capitol Hill Republicans to even talk about what should be done with the bust of Forrest that sits in an alcove between the second floor House and Senate chambers.
“I think you are going to see a move to move him to a museum and then honor some people who deserve to be honored in one of those eight alcoves,” said Rep. Faison.
The lawmaker said he “absolutely” supports efforts to move the Forrest bust after saying the issue should be open for “debate” two years ago.
Confederate General Forrest was a slave trader before the Civil War, revered as a military tactician during the conflict, and an early leader of the Ku Klux Klan after the war before later disavowing the white supremacist group.
Rep. Faison hopes there’s a legislative resolution urging the Tennessee Historical Commission to make the final decision to remove the Forrest bust.
“I would vote for that, sign on to that saying ‘hey historical commission, let’s move him down the hill to the museum,” added the legislative leader.
The new state museum is near capitol hill on the edge of Bicentennial Mall.
By law, any change for the Forrest bust would have to be approved first by the Tennessee Capitol Commission before going to the Tennessee Historical Commission.