Tennessee governor says ‘something should be done’ about Nathan Bedford Forrest bust

Protesters gather in Nashville after effort to remove bust from capitol building fails

Group protests Nathan Bedford Forrest bust at Tennessee state capitol building

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WMC/WVLT) - Protesters gathered in Nashville Wednesday afternoon after a failed effort to remove the Nathan Bedford Forrest bust from the Tennessee state capitol building.

A House committee voted 11 to 5 Tuesday to keep the bust of the Confederate Army general who was also a former leader of the Ku Klux Klan.

While discussing the resolution, WSMV reports Rep. Jerry Sexton, R-District 35, argued against removing the bust.

“It was not against the law to own slaves back then,” said Sexton. “Who knows, maybe some of us will be slaves one of these days. Laws change.”

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee discusses race relations, police reform and the controversial Nathan Bedford Forrest bust at the state capitol building

Speaking Wednesday, Gov. Bill Lee said “something should be done” about the bust.

“It’s not entirely up to me,” said Lee. “I have said this though -- something should be done. That particular individual and his role in history is particularly painful to African Americans in this state. And for that reason, I think there should be a strong consideration and strong dialogue about what happens to that bust. It’s been there for a long time, and there will be a process that determines that.”

The governor says the Capitol Commission and Tennessee Historical Commission must decide what happens to the bust.

A separate House bill to end the observance of the annual Nathan Bedford Forrest Day narrowly made it out of committee the same day. It must go before another House committee before it makes it to the floor.

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