Panel vacancy, Confederate bust inaction could last months

March 11, 2020 GMT

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee said Tuesday he will make an appointment in the coming months to a panel considering what to do with the bust of a Confederate general and early Ku Klux Klan leader in the Capitol.

The Republican told reporters other priorities have arisen since the Capitol Commission slot opened last month shortly before the group met for public comment on the bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest.

“There have been other things that have filled the docket between that point and now,” Lee said. “But we will be making an appointment to that commission over the next few months and they will be meeting again. They haven’t determined when they will be meeting. But I’m sure that will unfold over the next several weeks.”


Tennessee is recovering from deadly tornadoes last week and is responding to increasing coronavirus cases.

Finance Commissioner and Capitol Commission Chairman Stuart McWhorter said he doesn’t want to act on the Forrest bust without first filling the vacancy.

Even after that possible vote, the Tennessee Heritage Protection Act requires the state Historical Commission’s approval to remove the bust.

Some propose adding historical context to the bust, moving it to the state museum or installing a civil rights monument nearby.