Two prominent Tennessee Democrats and the state Republican Party chairman say a bust of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest, an early leader of the Ku Klux Klan, should be removed from its perch inside the state capitol building, reports The Tennessean.
U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tenn., and state House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh, D-Ripley, said the bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest has no place in the Tennessee statehouse.
“Symbols of hate should not be promoted by government. South Carolina should remove the Confederate battle flag from its Capitol, and Tennessee should remove the bust of Forrest inside our Capitol,” Cooper said in a statement to The Tennessean.
Fitzhugh said he believes the bust should be displayed in a museum.
“In general, our Capitol should be representative of the people of Tennessee. Right now if you’re a young girl, like my granddaughter, Marley Mac, for instance, and you visit the Capitol, there are no busts in the building that look like you,” Fitzhugh said.
“For African-Americans, there’s only one — a fairly recent addition. So I think, generally speaking, we need to revisit what we have displayed in the Capitol so that it better represents a Tennessee for all of us.”
Tennessee Republican Party Chairman Ryan Haynes believes the bust should be removed from the Capitol as well.
“If I were a legislator, I would vote to move it,” said Haynes, who recently stepped down from his position in the Tennessee House of Representatives to take over the state Republican Party.