NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Members of the Tennessee Historical Commission say nothing should get in the way of the removal of the controversial Nathan Bedford Forrest bust inside of the State Capitol building.
In March, the commission voted 25 to 1 to approve the petition waiver from the Tennessee State Capitol Commission.
“It’s very hurtful to our community, it doesn’t represent who we are, doesn’t speak to the unity that we are interested in,” Frank Stevenson, a member of the commission said.
The renewed expectations come as the remains of General Forrest and his wife, as well as a statue was removed from a Memphis park.
The order from the commission does not become final until July 9, at which point, the bust of the former Confederate General and Ku Klux Klan leader could come down.
Governor Bill Lee’s office released a statement to News 2, saying in part, “we are working to determine next steps, and our plans have not changed.”
“The Tennessee Heritage Protection Act requires a time period before the bust can be removed, so we’re coming up on that time period which would be July 9,” Stevenson said. “Now there is some concern as it relates to the Lieutenant Governor (Randy McNally), who really believes that the process hasn’t been completely followed, but we believe the people of Tennessee have spoken and we believe that this is the right thing to do.”
Lt. Governor Randy McNally’s office is weighing in on the debate a spokesperson for the Oak Ridge Republican released a statement saying:
“Lt. Governor McNally stands by his assertion that the State Building Commission must concur in the action of the State Capitol Commission as has consistently been done in the past in similar situations. General Slatery’s opinion supports that assertion.”Lt. Governor Randy McNally’s Office
Attorney General Slatery also found the Tennessee Historical Commission “an appropriate public entity” to approve the removal waivers.
“I think for the healing of our country, we have to come to grips that there are certain images and certain things that are very hurtful. While we do want to acknowledge them, in a museum may be the right place, we shouldn’t put them in spaces of celebration,” Stevenson said.
Busts of Admiral David Glasgow Farragut and Admiral Albert Gleaves could also be removed and taken to the Tennessee State Museum as well.