ATLANTA, Ga. - Today, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee reversed his position and wants a change to the state law requiring a special day honoring Confederate General and KKK Grand Wizard Nathan Bedford Forrest. The following statement on Nathan Bedford Forrest Day in Tennessee is from Heidi Beirich, Director of the Intelligence Project for the SPLC Action Fund.
“It is important to change the Tennessee state law that requires the governor to issue proclamations for three days of special observation honoring the Confederacy. But lawmakers can’t just talk about undoing laws that honor the Confederacy, they must act – and we must hold them accountable if they don’t.
“Currently, 99 Confederate symbols are scattered across the state of Tennessee, 15 of which are named in honor of Nathan Bedford Forrest. There are a total of 48 Confederate symbols dedicated to Forrest in the United States.
“How much more recognition does one person need? Especially one whose claim to fame was reinforcing white supremacy as a renowned slave trader, murderous Confederate general, and the first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.
“If we do not start having meaningful conversations about racial reconciliation in this country, Americans will continue being subjected to morally disgraceful public celebrations like Tennessee’s Nathan Bedford Forrest Day.”
You can find SPLC’s statement on Governor Lee signing the proclamation here.