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Resolution RS2019-1836

A resolution urging Governor Bill Lee and the Tennessee General Assembly to amend legislation which requires in part the declaration of “Nathan Bedford Forrest Day” and to remove the bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest from the Tennessee Capitol.

WHEREAS, Governor Bill Lee recently signed a proclamation officially declaring July 13, 2019 as “Nathan Bedford Forrest Day”; and

WHEREAS, Forrest was a Confederate general, a slave trader, and an early Ku Klux Klan leader; and

WHEREAS, in signing this legislation, Governor Lee explained, “I signed the bill because the law requires that I do that and I haven’t looked at changing that law.”

WHEREAS, Tennessee Code Annotated § 15-2-101, originally codified in 1931, provides that it is “the duty of the governor” to proclaim certain “days of special observance” – including the declaration of “Nathan Bedford Forrest Day” on July 13th – as well as the proclamation of “Robert E. Lee Day” on January 19th and “Confederate Decoration Day” on June 3rd (Confederate President Jefferson Davis’s birthday); and

WHERAS, Tennessee Code Annotated § 15-2-101 further provides: “The governor shall invite the people of this state to observe the days in schools, churches, and other suitable places with appropriate ceremonies expressive of the public sentiment befitting the anniversary of such dates”; and
WHEREAS, the State of Tennessee’s official commemoration of Forrest, along with other members of the Confederacy, is a shameful reminder of our nation’s racist past, perpetuates the painful legacy of slavery, fosters an unnecessarily divisive tone among legislators and the public, and does not reflect Tennessee’s welcoming and inclusive nature; and

WHEREAS, Governor Lee has subsequently announced his intention to work with the Tennessee General Assembly to undo the law requiring the declaration of “Nathan Bedford Forrest Day”. Governor Lee should be encouraged in this regard; but he and the General Assembly should further amend the entirety of the archaic legislation requiring commemoration of Robert E. Lee and the Confederacy, and he should further remove the bust of Forrest from the Tennessee Capitol -- a site where all Tennesseans should feel welcomed; and

WHEREAS, it is fitting and proper that Governor Bill Lee and the Tennessee General Assembly work to amend legislation which requires, in part, “Nathan Bedford Forrest Day” and similar commemorations, and to further remove the bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest from the Tennessee Capitol.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE METROPOLITAN GOVERNMENT OF NASHVILLE AND DAVIDSON COUNTY:

Section 1. That the Metropolitan Council hereby goes on record as urging Governor Bill Lee and the Tennessee General Assembly to amend legislation requiring, in part, commemoration of “Nathan Bedford Forrest Day” and similar commemorations honoring the Confederacy and its members, and to further remove the bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest from the Tennessee Capitol.
Section 2. That the Metropolitan Clerk is directed to send a copy of this Resolution to Governor Bill Lee and to each member of the Davidson County Delegation to the Tennessee General Assembly.

Section 3. That this Resolution shall take effect from and after its adoption, the welfare of the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County requiring it.

Sponsor(s)

Erica Gilmore, Mary Carolyn Roberts, Mina Johnson

Legislative History

IntroducedJuly 16, 2019

AdoptedJuly 16, 2019

ApprovedJuly 18, 2019

ByMayor Briley's signature

Requests for ADA accommodation should be directed to the Metropolitan Clerk at 615-862-6770.

Last Modified: 07/26/2019 10:06 AM