Jim Cooper Calls For Removing Bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest From Tennessee Capitol | Nashville Public Radio

Jim Cooper Calls For Removing Bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest From Tennessee Capitol

Jun 22, 2015

A bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest stands in the Tennessee Capitol.
Credit Stephen Jerkins / WPLN

As debate intensifies in South Carolina over the Confederate flag, a Nashville lawmaker is calling for the removal of another controversial symbol — this one at the Tennessee Capitol.

U.S. Representative Jim Cooper, D-Nashville, used Twitter Monday to call for the bust of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest to be taken down.

The sculpture is on the top floor of the Tennessee Capitol, near the state Senate chambers.

Forrest was a slave trader and plantation owner who won fame during the Civil War for his skills as a cavalry commander. He later became Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.

Cooper, a Democrat, says both the battle flag and the bust of Forrest are "symbols of hate" that state governments shouldn't promote.

Just two years ago, officials in Memphis renamed a city park that had honored Forrest. Tennessee lawmakers responded by passing a law that made it harder to change memorials to historical figures.