Alexander, Corker favor moving Forrest bust (and a note on the bust history)

U.S. Sens. Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker say they support moving a bust of Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest from the state capitol building to a museum.

Corker, quoted in the Times Free Press: “This is a state issue and not something that I am involved in, but if I were in the General Assembly I would vote to remove his bust from the actual Capitol where our ideals of a state are debated… I would support removing those type of historic symbols that are contentious to our people and putting them in museums, not in places where our ideals are lifted up.”

An Alexander statement today, provided in response to an email request for the senator’s view on the matter: “State officials have created a process for deciding what to do about displays in our state facilities. I agree with Governor Haslam that Nathan Bedford Forrest should not be among those honored at our state Capitol.”

TN History Note: The bust was authorized in a 1973 legislative resolution – championed by the late Sen. Douglas Henry, D-Nashville, at a time when Democrat Ray Blanton was governor – but not funded. The Sons of Confederate Veterans launched a fundraising drive and collected the money, commissioned the sculpture by Jane Herndon Baxendale and a dedication ceremony was held Nov. 5, 1978. The Tennessean reported at the time that protesters appeared at the ceremony contending the bust was “an insult to all blacks.” A Henry quote from the 1978 article: “I don’t think it’s an insult to anyone who recognizes a man who had commendable qualities.”

This post originally said — mistakenly — that Alexander was governor in 1978. He was elected governor in November of that year, but Blanton was still in office when the bust was dedicated.

7 Responses to Alexander, Corker favor moving Forrest bust (and a note on the bust history)

  • Gail Forsythe says:

    Ridiculous. Just Ridiculous! Forrest was the first true civil rights leader!!!!!! Trying to change history and FORGETTING that Forrest renounced the KKK and tried to disband them in addition to being a crusader for the Civil Rights of Blacks offering to help suppress those who were keeping Blacks from voting. His funeral procession which was over two miles long was attended by over 10,000 area residents, including 3000 black citizens paying their respects.

    SOMEONE NEEDS TO LEARN THEIR ….R.E.A.L….C.O.M.P.L.E.T.E….HISTORY.

    • Ed Smith says:

      Gail is always a strong well informed voice. I remember the facts just as she cited them. Facts are not flexible things. It is comforting and ironic that in this divisive time Forrest serves as a bold statement and active unifier. Our Senators know better: they should draw a line of principal in the sand and defend it. Don’t bury this. Instead, pull TN together with this.

  • Hal Rounds says:

    ISIS in Syria destroying monuments of a past civilization they fail to study; but hate because of their deep ignorance. We revile them. And then we see Confederacy-haters destroying or clamoring for the destruction of the monuments to a gone civilization – WHICH THEY HATE BECAUSE THEY ARE IGNORANT – and somehow think they are different than the ISIS savages? Our schools have failed to teach history, for sure; but they have also failed to teach logic and critical analysis. And even basic civilization.

  • Jimmy says:

    We need to also get rid of TN legal holidays for Lee and Forrest. Both were enemies of the United States. It’s time to clean it all up.

    http://law.justia.com/codes/tennessee/2010/title-15/chapter-2/15-2-101

  • Ted says:

    Apparently, Hal learned what he knows of “logic and critical analysis” from Trump U. What a stunnning display of sheer ignorance on his part.

  • Victor says:

    Facts are stubborn things. I remember when Alexander was governor….I supported and voted for him, but as a life-long public leach and now member of the most elite group in the entire world, I am ashamed that I ever voted for him. Wonder why he didn’t take up this issue when he was governor? Can you say waffling politician? What a ham! Next fact: It seems to me that examples of the best and the worst Democrats in the State of Tennessee, are right here in this article, Douglas Henry and Ray Blanton, the best and the worst Democrats in my memory. Douglas Henry, a Democrat brought this idea about – I find that ironic, but knowing him, I’d say its exactly how he said it above. Finally, and most importantly, it seems to me that this statue was not paid for with taxpayer dollars so it is not taxpayer property, it just happens to be on state property. Now, whether or not our current legislature votes to remove it, now that’s a state issue.

  • Lance Persson says:

    I favor moving Corker and Alexander out.

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Former Knoxville News Sentinel capitol bureau chief Tom Humphrey writes about Tennessee politics, government, and legislative news.
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