Lawmakers in Tennessee voted Thursday (July 22) to remove the bust of a known l Ku Klux Klan and confederate leader from the state’s capitol.
Nathan Bedford Forrest was a general in the Confederate Army during the civil war, slave trader and one of the first leaders of the Ku Klux Klan. Until now, Forrest’s bust stood in the state’s capitol building.
“After more than a year in the making, this process has finally come to a close,” Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said, after voting in favor of removing the statue and transferring it to the Tennessee State Museum.
“I thank the members of the Capitol Commission, Historical Commission and State Building Commission for providing thoughtful input and ensuring confidence in the process. The State Museum provides the full historical context for these figures as we remember our state’s rich and complex past,” Lee, who is a Republican, said.
The official vote to remove Forrest’s bust was 5-2 and included plans to remove figures of Admiral David Farragut and Admiral Albert Gleaves. The two votes against the figures’ removal came from Lt. Gov. Randy McNally and state House Speaker Cameron Sexton.
“Trying to judge generations’ actions based on today’s values and the evolution of societies is not an exercise I am willing to do because I think it is counterproductive,” Sexton said in a statement, according to CNN.
The state’s vote to remove the figures comes after the US Capitol removed statues of Confederate figures of its own. Tennessee is also one of several states to ban critical race theory from being taught in schools.