Bust of Confederate General continues to stir controversy at the Tennessee capitol

Jan 29, 2020

Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (OSBORNE) -- A bust of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest continues to stir controversy at the state capitol.


During a House committee hearing Tuesday, Knoxville Democrat Rick Staples offered legislation recommending the bust be removed from the Capitol rotunda. Well over an hour of discussion and testimony followed, frustrating Nashville Democrat Bo Mitchell.


“I mean this is a 30 second conversation. We should have already voted and dealt with this. Let’s move on to doing the business of the state.” 


James Patterson with The Sons of Confederate Veterans testified against the proposal. He told lawmakers his great, great, grandfather fought under General Forrest. He insisted the general, one of the founding members of the Ku Klux Klan, was a hero to many Tennesseans during the war, and remains so for many to this day.


The Committee postponed a vote on the measure for one week. The panel's GOP majority asked for time to negotiate compromise language that would increase the bill's chances of passage.


Should the measure ultimately pass, two state commissions would still have to approve removal of the controversial monument.