NASHVILLE, TN — A bill that will bring an end to Nathan Bedford Forrest Day being a state holiday has passed its first hurdle. The bill, sponsored by Memphis Representative London Lamar, passed the House Naming, Designating and Private Acts Committee this Tuesday afternoon by a narrow one-vote margin.
Forrest has been a controversial figure for years in Tennessee for his role in the founding of the Ku Klux Klan and command of troops in the Fort Pillow massacre.
Earlier in the same committee meeting, members rejected a resolution that would have requested the removal of a contentious bust of Forrest from the state capitol. Despite that, the committee supported Rep. Lamar’s bill. Following the meeting, Rep. Lamar spoke on the bill’s passage: “What it means to Tennessee is that we are going to continue to move forward. We are going to continue to make Tennessee a welcoming state for everybody. That we are going to recognize that we don’t have a perfect past, but we can get it right.”
The bill now goes on to the House Calendar and Rules Committee where it can be scheduled to be heard on the full House floor.