Capitol Commission won’t vote on Forrest bust at next meeting

Finance Commissioner Stuart McWhorter, left, participates in a meeting of the State Funding Board in Nashville on Jan. 21, 2020. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

A long-awaited meeting of the State Capitol Commission next month won’t decide the fate of the Nathan Bedford Forrest bust located outside the House and Senate chambers.

Finance Commissioner Stuart McWhorter told reporters on Tuesday that he envisions a series of at least two meetings to sound out supporters and opponents of moving the bust of the former slave trader, Confederate general, and early leader of the Ku Klux Klan.

Even if the Capitol Commission were to seek a waiver under the Tennessee Heritage Protection Act to remove the bust, a lengthy process would ensue. The State Historical Commision must wait at least 60 days to hold an initial hearing once a petition is filed. A final hearing can’t take place until at least 180 days after that. And any determination made by the panel (it would take two-thirds of the members to remove the monument) would have to wait 120 days from the final notice being posted on its website from going into effect.

And of course not of that takes into account any likely court challenges.

In other words, it’s going to be a while. Unless lawmakers decide to jump start the process by filing legislation to bypass the hurdles put in place by the Heritage Protection Act.

27 Responses to Capitol Commission won’t vote on Forrest bust at next meeting

  • John W Niven Jr says:

    Leave the statue alone. Removing it doesn’t change anything.

  • Lenny says:

    “Slaves, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ” – Ephesians 6:5

    Glad to see some members of the Republic Party stand up for family, Biblical values.

  • TR says:

    I don’t understand why a bust of Forrest is the hill that some TN conservatives want to die on. It’s eventually going to be removed. It might not be this year or next, but it’s not going to stay there forever and the next generation will wonder why some of us cared so much to protect the legacy of a man best know for massacring black troops at Fort Pillow and founding the KKK (yes I know he repented in his later years).

    • Beatrice Shaw says:

      Even, I, as a liberal understand. I am actually a history teacher, by the way. Yes, General Forrest was very active in the slave trade. He was a cunning, yet respectful and much admired commander. Fort Pillow was a disaster for the federal troops. They (white troops) threw their black soldiers in front of them to die because they were afraid they would be killed if captured with colored troops. Almost all of them were intoxicated when the fort was attacked—black and white alike. Survivors from the fort ran to a pre determined position to fight again and be picked up by a gun boat if needed. The gunboat was too frightened to approach the confederate artillery. The remaining troops huddled on the shore, drunk and armed-expecting a rescue that never came. They were killed there. It was a massacre, but it was combat. No one is at fault or either everyone is at fault.

      General Forrest is much revered by strategists. His slave history can not be denied, but neither can that of many of our Founding Fathers, Andrew Jackson, etc. Let’s leave this issue alone and concentrate on free education and healthcare and jobs….please?

      • LeeAnn C. says:

        Thank you for sharing this information. I believe General Forrest also worked in admirable ways after the war. The Civil War was a tragedy for our country and for too many families to count (Union and Confederate).

      • MARLE says:

        No one is more revered as a strategist than Hitler. What the heck has that to do with anything IF the war you are waging is for upholding the right to enslave other human beings, to breed them like animals and sell their young on an auction block?

        • Cannoneer2 says:

          False equivalence at its finest.

          • MARLE says:

            Beatrice wanted to honor Forest for being a great strategist. If your strategic greatness is in waging a war to further states’ rights to allow legal slavery, breeding and auctioning of human beings then that isn’t worthy of honor.

  • Lee Millar says:

    Forrest is still a hero today. Read his real biography — not the trash in the media.

  • Benny Jones says:

    History in fact is quite different. The people should take the time to research

  • Phil Lassiter says:

    This is more of the Bill Lee Bait and Switch we are all becoming accustomed to. He has no shame.

  • Becky Muska says:

    Removal of the Gen. Forrest bust would be a slap in the face to two Tennessee women who with their artistic talent created works of art for a majority of civilized Tennesseans to appreciate and for a small minority of perpetually-offended Socialist Democrats to whine about in their quest for complete immersion of Tennessee into cultural Marxism. The process for creating the General Forrest bust began in 1973 when the state legislature approved a resolution for its production. Sen. Douglas Henry (D)-Nashville was a proponent of the bust. That year the SCV and Joseph Johnston SCV Camp of Nashville unveiled a portrait of General Forrest by Joy Garner at Travelers’ Rest. Citizens could purchase a 24 in. x 30 in. full color print of Garner’s portrait with proceeds going to fund the Forrest bust for the Capitol. The bust was sculpted by Loura Jane Baxendale who also sculpted the busts of Confederate generals who are on display at the Carter House in Franklin. It took Mrs. Baxendale over two years to create the Forrest bust for the Capitol. The bust was unveiled and placed on the 2nd floor of the Capitol on November 5, 1978. Not one cent of any taxpayer funding was spent on this work of art….get over it, Gov. Lee, & move on to more important matters instead of white-washing TN history.

    • MARLE says:

      What in the world does a recitation of who designed the bust, who paid for it, and when it was unveiled have anything to do with the appropriateness of its display in the Capitol?

      Your comment should be part of every State of TN Dept of Economic Development’s presentation to companies deciding if a move to TN would be a comfortable fit for them.

  • Mark buchanan says:

    Forrest was not the leader or founder of the klan.
    He was at Fort Pillow and union officers testified in Congressional hearings and was exonerated from
    any charges of massacre.
    After the war, he spoke to the International Brotherhood of Pole Bearers by invitation. It was the forerunner of the NAACP. He was not running for office and spoke in support of blacks voting, and learning and being productive members of the community. He became saved by the blood of Christ.
    He is a symbol of redemption and healing. Tell that story and leave his Bust where it is!

  • Donna Locke says:

    Move it.

    • MARLE says:

      Are we the only first-world, evolved country on earth who honors those best known for upholding the practice of targeting a GROUP for enslavement or annihilation?

      • Cannoneer2 says:

        Yes. This statement would encompass many of our “heroes” who fought in the Indian Wars. The U.S. Army is guilty of genocide during this period. George Armstrong Custer and Phil Sheridan come to mind.

  • James White says:

    Keep it.

  • Eddie White says:

    Slavery is a horrible piece of our history. It was a sad part of many of our early leaders such as Jefferson and Jackson. But trying to “whitewash” history by removing and attacking statues across the south that we have witnessed in the past several years serves no benefit. The confederacy is both part of the history and heritage of our region. My great, great grandfather who fought with the 84th Infrantry Regiment organized in McMinnville never owned a slave. Like most Tennesseans he took up arms because his state ask him to. Maybe we can find a compromise, but it will be hard to do if the narrative continues to be driven by those who want to paint those with any confederate heritage as a bunch of racist.

    • MARLE says:

      History has both good and bad and both need to be remembered. That is what museums are for. Remembering.

      Honoring is an altogether different thing. Statues in prominent government buildings; boulevards and parkways, bridges etc are for honoring. If the main thing for which a person distinguished themselves was the prosecution of a war in order to maintain the enslavement of fellow human beings then that does not seem to be worthy of honor.

      Washington is credited with winning the Revolutionary war. Jefferson with authoring the constitution and bill of rights and with envisioning public education for the common man culminating with the founding of the Univ of Virginia. Their efforts in the public domain were not focused on maintaining a slave system.

      • John says:

        I think the only way to get these Rebel statues down is to file a lawsuit for equal representation of all US war enemies. Let’s put King George III and Hitler on either side of Traitor Nathan Forrest.

        • MARLE says:

          Interestingly enough the US made it illegal to display ANY symbols associated with the war in Germany. Apparently once upon a time we cared to make sure the right thing was done…..just not in our country

          • Eddie White says:

            To do the right thing is to it the right way. The right way is not what the city of Memphis did, going in at night, tearing down statues and hiding them. Or mob riots in North Carolina and other states physically tearing down statues. That leaves a bad taste in the mouth of many southerners like myself who have no interest in defending slavery, but respect the hertiage and history of our ancestors.

    • Donna Locke says:

      Eddie, I’m for preserving the history, the truth, but I feel pretty strongly the Forrest statue should be moved from the Capitol — for the same reasons I supported removal of the Confederate battle emblem from the Georgia flag when I lived there. I did have ancestors who fought for the Confederacy. They were poor farmers for the most part and never owned slaves and in fact were sharecroppers in the fields alongside black sharecroppers, a couple of whom were taken in by these members of my dad’s family because they had nowhere to live.

      The current statue placement is an insult to black legislators and other black citizens. This is their Capitol. It belongs to all of us here. Find another way to tell and preserve the story.

  • Ken Silvers says:

    Have a heart! Remove it! You are supposed to be leaders. Act like it.

  • Pingback: Wednesday, January 22

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *