Tennessee governor wants to change law that requires him to declare a day for Nathan Bedford Forrest

Changing Nathan Bedford Forrest Day

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - After facing criticism from across the country, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said he wants to change the law that requires him to declare a day celebrating Nathan Bedford Forrest.

“I think it’s absurd for this to even be passed,” said Vickie Terry.

Terry is the executive director of the Memphis chapter of the NAACP. She finds it disturbing along with many people in the country that the governor of Tennessee, Bill Lee, declared Saturday Nathan Bedford Forrest Day, a decades-long tradition in the state.

"This action was an affront to all Tennesseans, especially those of color, those of non-protestant religious faiths, those of the LGBTQ community and those who believe in equality and human rights,” Terry said.

Tennessee state law requires governor’s recognize July 13 as Nathan Bedford Forrest Day. The law also calls for Robert E. Lee Day in January.

Forest was a renowned confederate general, but also a slave owner and trader and early leader of the Ku Klux Klan.

His statue in Health Sciences Park was removed in December of 2017.

"The action by the Tennessee Governor sends the wrong message to people around the country and puts another stain on Tennessee,” Terry said.

Governor Lee, in a recent tweet, wrote it is his job to enforce the law.

The Memphis Chapter of the NAACP will ask Tennessee legislators to change the law as well.

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