A decadeslong effort to remove a bust of a Confederate general and early Ku Klux Klan leader from the Tennessee Capitol cleared its final hurdle Thursday, with state leaders approving the final vote needed to allow the statue to be relocated to a museum.
The seven-member State Building Commission voted 5-2 to remove the Nathan Bedford Forrest bust as well as the busts of two other Tennessee military leaders.
The Forrest bust was first installed at the Capitol in 1978 and has sparked protests and demonstrations ever since. Some have called for adding more historical context to the bust, but others, including Gov. Bill Lee recently, fought to have it moved to the state’s history museum.
Forrest was a Confederate cavalry general who amassed a fortune before the Civil War as a plantation owner and slave trader in Memphis. After the war, he was a leader of the Klan, which terrorized Black people as it sought to reverse Reconstruction efforts and restore white supremacy.