Court hearing and more state action ahead for Capitol’s bust of Confederate general

Tennessee News

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — An African American lawmaker is frustrated with the process of removing a Confederate general’s bust from the Tennessee State Capitol that now includes a scheduled court hearing in November.

“It causes us frustration because the historical commission should have been meeting about this in October,” said Representative Harold Love.

The first step was taken in July when the Tennessee Capitol Commission voted to move the Nathan Bedford Forrest bust to the state museum, but since then there’s been little movement.

The capitol bust of the Confederate general remains a symbol of hate for African American lawmakers like Love who have long wanted it moved.

The Tennessee Historical Commission does have what it calls an ‘initial hearing’ on the Forrest bust on October 16, but not a final vote to move the Confederate general’s bust out of the Capitol’s second floor as recommended in July by the Capitol Commission.

“You go and get something done and then it changes,” added Rep. Love.

He is referring to a reminder recently from the House and Senate speakers that the State Building Commission must also weigh in on the decision by the Capitol Commission.

“The legislative attorneys have told us that they felt the process involves the State Building Commission,” Tennessee House Speaker Cameron Sexton told WKRN-TV on September 29. “It’s supposed to be passed in concurrence with it. we think that means there should be a vote.

Governor Bill Lee, who pushed for the Forrest bust removal, said this week his attorneys are looking at the State Building Commission’s role.

“We are looking at any additional processes that ought to be there, but we believe the process we are following now is as it should be,” the governor told reporters on Tuesday.

Speaker Sexton says he expects a State Building Commission’s vote on the Confederate general’s bust no later than December. There’s also a lawsuit from the Sons of Confederate Veterans against removing the Forrest bust from the Capitol.

A hearing on it is scheduled for November 13 in Nashville Chancery Court.

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