Confederate flag joins Forrest on Haslam unapproved list

Gov. Bill Haslam has formally asked the Tennessee Historical Commission to approve a Memphis City County request to remove a statute of Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest from a city park. This follows his request last week to the State Capitol Commission that a bust of Forrest be removed from the state capitol building.

Further, The Tennessean reports, he is informally questioning whether the state should stop issuing specialty vehicle license plates for the Sons of Confederate Veterans that have an image of the Confederate battle flag.

“I’d have my questions about that, about whether or not we should be having official Tennessee state license tags that do that,” he said.

…A spokeswoman for the Department of Revenue said there are currently 2,273 Sons of the Confederate license plates in active circulation. (Note: There are more than 100 varieties of specialty plates available for payment of extra fees, with the money from sales shared with the sponsoring organization.)

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…Rep. Jason Powell, D-Nashville, and Sen. Sara Kyle, D-Memphis, introduced a measure in 2015 (HB1404) to halt their production.

“The flag is a divisive symbol and point of offense. Tennessee should stop issuing license plates that feature a symbol of hate, oppression and injustice,” Powell said at the time.

The bill died in the Transportation Committees of the House and Senate, having never been put to a vote.

Both the Capitol Commission, which meets Friday, and the Historical Commission, which meets next month, must approve relocation of historic monuments under a state law enacted last year (and signed by Haslam). The Tennessean has a report on the governor’s request to Historical Commission.

“While I support the principle of local governments deciding what to place on their own properties, state law reserves this decision for the Historical Commission,” Haslam said in a letter to Patrick McIntyre, executive director of the commission.

…The commission is set to make a final decision on the petition at its upcoming Oct. 13 meeting.

“A refusal to act on the petition in October will only prolong the issue and result in criticism of both the established process and the Commission itself, as this process can work effectively only if the responsible entities act in a timely manner,” Haslam said.

“I appreciate the sensitivity around these matters and respect the significant responsibility placed upon you as Commission members,” the governor concluded.

Note: Previous post on the Capitol Commission and Forrest bust HERE.

4 Responses to Confederate flag joins Forrest on Haslam unapproved list

  • Linda says:

    As a proud Tennessean who has ancestors who fought on both sides of the Civil War–my great-great grandfather fought on one side while his wife’s brothers fought on the other–I say take the extra revenue the plates bring in and don’t further stir the pot by discontinuing them.

  • Jennie Young says:

    Our governor is correct. The fact that people fought on both sides isn’t the issue. All one should have to do is read the government of the Confederacy statements about the reasons for secession and the secession statements by the separate states to understand what those soldiers were officially fighting for, whether they fully understood it or not. It’s not a reality anyone should want to protect and certainly not to glorify.

  • Jerry McDonough says:

    If these anti- everything Southern people ever stopped whining long enough to open a history book, they may discover they have been mislead by the elites. The so called “civil” War was not fought because of slavery. It was fought primarily because the North had the the largest number of congressmen to vote their bidding and levied a 70% tariff on all Southern goods. The wealthy New England were trying to take over Southern assets for pennies on the dollar just as they did prior to the Revolutionary War. At the time there were more slaves in the north than in the South and the slave ships were predominately owned by northern business concerns according to the official ship registry records who made huge money from the slave trade. American slavery began in Massachusetts, not the South. According to the 1860 Census more blacks owned slaves in America than did Whites per capita.

  • RC Silk says:

    The comment that art (flag, sculpture, speech) “is offensive” is the biggest lie perpetrated in today’s society, right alongside of racial and/or religious “superiority.” Until someone shows me actual proof that speech, or art (inanimate objects) have deliberately slapped a face, bruised a cheek, blackened an eye, severed a head, or stabbed a liver (as do followers of ISIS and Islam) then the TRUTH that art is non-offensive remains.

    People who say “I feel that [art] is offensive” should be commended on their perception of the LIE that the art feels “offensive.” Great art disturbs the comforted, and comforts the disturbed. Art is freedom of SPEECH and IS PROTECTED under the 1st Amendment of our U.S. Constitution. This spreading, MINDLESS phobia that is ATTACKING our Constitution is nothing less than Sharia Law (the government of Islam) spreading itself across our Nation.

    Removing a statue (or art or a symbol) is nothing less than supporting the VERY IDEOLOGY that destroyed the twin towers on 9/11. WAKE UP, PEOPLE!

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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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