Natalie Allison, The Tennessean, July 15, 2019
In a change of heart, Gov. Bill Lee on Monday said he would work to undo a state law that tasks the Tennessee governor with declaring a special day of observance in honor of Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Confederate general and early Ku Klux Klan leader.
Lee announced his plans in a tweet Monday, diverging from comments made to The Tennessean on Thursday that he was not considering changing the law.
Nathan Bedford Forrest Day was observed on Saturday, as it is each year on Forrest’s July 13 birthday.
In a statement Monday evening, a spokesman for the lieutenant governor said the Senate leader would talk with Lee about the proposed change of law.
Lee has not announced a change of position on what to do with a bust of Forrest that has been on display outside the Senate and House chambers since 1978. The governor has said since before he was in office that he was not in favor of moving the bust to the state museum.
McNally has said he is in favor of adding additional context to the bust, but believes the State Capitol Commission, which has the authority to vote on removing it, should make the final decision about the monument’s location.