The fight to remove a bust of a Confederate general and Ku Klux Klan leader from the Tennessee State Capitol reignited Thursday with a new legislative push to oust the controversial statute.
Rep. Brenda Gilmore, D-Nashville, introduced legislation that would require the state Historical Commission to relocate the bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest from inside the Capitol to the Tennessee State Museum.
The bust would be moved upon the completion of the new museum, which is currently under construction by Bicentennial Mall.
House Bill 1466, the legislation filed by Gilmore, chairwoman of the Tennessee Black Caucus, would give the Tennessee State Museum "exclusive control over the bust," according to bill.
During a September meeting of the state Capitol Commission, the panel voted 7 to 5 against a motion made by Larry Martin, state Department of Finance and Administration commissioner, who requested a waiver in order to relocate the Forrest bust to the state museum.
The bust has been on display at the Capitol since 1978.
In 2015, amid a national debate on Confederate monuments, U.S. Senator Bob Corker and Gov. Bill Haslam said they believed it was time to remove the Forrest bust from the statehouse. In 2017, Sen. Lamar Alexander expressed support for removing the bust and relocating it to a museum or battlefield site.
Lawmakers later passed legislation to make it very difficult to remove the bust without new legislation.
After a white supremacists rally earlier this year in Charlottesville, Va., advocates renewed calls to move the Forrest bust and to take down other Confederate monuments throughout the state.
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