Republican, Democratic guber candidates differ on moving N.B. Forrest bust from TN capitol

None of the five Republican candidates for governor declares support for removing Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest’s bust from the Tennessee state capitol building, reports The Tennessean after posing the question to all of them. Two Democrats running for governor both say the bust should be moved to a museum.

Protesters on Monday gathered at the Capitol to once again call for the state’s leaders to remove the Forrest bust, which culminated in a statement from Haslam in which he encouraged action by the Capitol Commission and the Historical Commission. (Previous post HERE.)

A 2016 law requires a two-thirds vote of the Historical Commission to remove or rename monuments from public property.

Some Republican candidate comments:

U.S. Rep. Diane Black: “Let’s give the law time to work.”

Businessman Randy Boyd:  The article say he is opposed to the “wholesale removal of historical displays” and, “If we cannot learn from the past, then we are surely destined to repeat it.”

House Speaker Beth Harwell: “I trust the wisdom and guidance of the Tennessee Historical Commission and the Capitol Commission to make the best decision for our state.”

Businessman Bill Lee:  “We should not wash away history just because some deem it offensive… We should always try to learn from those who came before us. History is the best teacher, not only for us to have the knowledge of who we are and what happened in our past, but also to ensure that the worst parts of our history doesn’t happen again.”

Sen. Mae Beavers: “Many monuments to their memory were built by the federal government after the Civil War concluded… Where will all the absurd apologies end? Should we tear down the Washington Monument because he owned slaves? The Emancipation Proclamation only applied to areas the Union didn’t occupy and allowed slavery to continue in Union occupied territory. Should we tear down the Lincoln memorial too?”

Democratic candidate comments:

Former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean said the Forrest bust belongs in a museum, not the state capitol.

House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh: “History is important, especially that history which we do not wish to repeat, and the place for that history is a museum… Moving the bust of Mr. Forrest is a basic first-step toward the greater goal of reconciliation.“

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