State representative calls removal of Nathan Bedford Forrest bust ‘large win’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — State representative London Lamar said Thursday was a victory for many.

This, after a vote to remove the bust of Confederate general and Ku Klux Klan leader Nathan Bedford Forrest from the state Capitol.

RELATED: Confederate bust to be removed from Tennessee Capitol

The busts of two other military leaders will be removed as well.

“It’s a large win for many of those who, almost last fifty years, have been fighting to get this bust removed from the state Capitol and it finally got removed,” London said.

Governor Bill Lee voted yes while Lt. Governor Randy McNally and House Speaker Cameron Sexton voted no.

Lamar praised Lee for supporting the push to remove the bust.

“To get this bust removed despite music of the outrage from his side of the aisle,” she said. “That was a bold and courageous step. We may not always agree on everything, but I applaud his leadership on this issue, and I thank him for that.”

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The Forrest bust has been at the Capitol since 1978, resulting in protests and conversations about having it removed.

Lamar said this moment was for past and current leaders including Justin Jones in Nashville and those here in Memphis.

“Commissioner Tami Sawyer and Commissioner Van Turner,” she said. “The work that they did with Take’emDown901 to get Nathan Bedford removed here in the city and what the city did. Mayor Strickland and everybody to help them with that. I honor you.”

Lamar said this is one step toward progress, but there’s still more to be made.

“I do have criticisms about their stance on this critical race theory and many of the efforts to take away diversity training and many opportunities that are going to allow our state to be more educated about the different communities of people we have in this state,” she said.

McNally and Sexton both made statements on Twitter.

McNally said, “I believe that context is needed, but not removal. No one is arguing that Forrest is not a problematic figure. He is. But there is more to his story.”

Sexton said, “Our country was established by imperfect people who made a great country that stands for hope, opportunity, and liberty.”