ACLU-TN Urges Removal of Nathan Bedford Forrest Bust From State Capitol

Affiliate: ACLU of Tennessee
July 8, 2020 2:15 pm

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NASHVILLE – The State Capitol Commission is scheduled to meet on Thursday, July 9 to vote on whether or not to remove the Nathan Bedford Forrest bust from the state capitol. The vote will take place following the removal of Confederate symbols and statues across the South and weeks of protests at the Tennessee state capitol urging removal of the bust.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee issued the following statement in support of the bust’s removal:

“We strongly urge the State Capitol Commission to remove the Nathan Bedford Forrest bust from our state capitol.

As a brutal architect of structural racism, Nathan Bedford Forrest represents the forces that undermine the basic framework of civil liberties and civil rights in the United States. Honoring him with a bust in our statehouse is antithetical to the values of decency, respect and equality that most Tennesseans share.

What we choose to represent and honor in public spaces matters. When visitors to our state capitol are greeted by a monument to slavery and white supremacy, it sends a clear message that our government endorses the oppression and inequality that the bust represents. It is past time for the Nathan Bedford Forrest bust to be removed.

Taking down Confederate monuments is not about erasing our history. It is about addressing a serious moral failing in our country by educating the public about our nation’s dark history of white supremacy and slavery. Telling the truth about our history is the only way to move forward.

Removing the bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest from the capitol would move us a step closer toward ensuring that the history we choose to celebrate and honor in our public spaces reflects respect and dignity for all Tennesseans.”

This statement is available online here.

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