ACLU of Tennessee Urges Removal of Nathan Bedford Forrest Bust From State Capitol

Affiliate: ACLU of Tennessee
March 8, 2021 8:30 pm

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ACLU of Tennessee
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The American Civil Liberties Union of Tennessee sent a letter today to members of the Tennessee Historical Commission in support of removing the Nathan Bedford Forrest bust from the state capitol. The Tennessee Historical Commission is scheduled to meet on Tuesday, March 9 to vote on whether or not to remove the bust.

The letter, signed by ACLU of Tennessee Executive Director Hedy Weinberg, reads in part:

“[T]he ACLU of Tennessee strongly urges the Tennessee Historical Commission to remove the Nathan Bedford Forrest bust from our state capitol.

"As a brutal architect of structural racism, Nathan Bedford Forrest represents the forces that undermine the basic framework of civil liberties and civil rights in the United States. Honoring him with a bust in our statehouse is antithetical to the values of decency, respect and equality that most Tennesseans share.

"What we choose to represent and honor in public spaces matters. When visitors to our state capitol are greeted by a monument to slavery and white supremacy, it sends a clear message that our government endorses the oppression and inequality that the bust represents. It is past time for the Nathan Bedford Forrest bust to be removed.

"Taking down Confederate monuments is not about erasing our history. It is about addressing a serious moral failing in our country by educating the public about our nation’s dark history of white supremacy and slavery. Telling the truth about our history is the only way to move forward.

"Removing the bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest from the capitol would move us a step closer toward ensuring that the history we choose to celebrate and honor in our public spaces reflects respect and dignity for all Tennesseans.”

The letter is available online at:

This statement is available online at:

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