State Watch

Statue of Confederate general, KKK leader removed in Nashville

Nathan Bedford Forrest statue

Davidson County, Tenn., construction crews removed the statue of former Confederate general and Ku Klux Klan leader Nathan Bedford Forrest on Tuesday, ABC affiliate WKRN reported.

The statue, which portrays Forrest riding a horse, was removed from private property adjacent to Interstate 65 Tuesday morning after the death of the property’s owner, Bill Dorris. 

After it was removed from its pedestal, pieces of the monument were moved to storage held on its property, according to WKRN. 

Dorris, who died in 2020, had his friend, Jack Kershaw, sculpt the 25-foot statue and put it on his private land in 1998, CBS affiliate WTVF reported

Dorris spent years refusing to remove the statute despite pleas from the public who view the monument as a symbol of racism. 

Dorris’s property went to the Battle of Nashville Trust, who decided to remove the statute, citing that Forrest was not part of the “Battle of Nashville, his property had no “historical significance to the battle” and the statue itself was ugly to see, according to WTVF. 

“The property has no historical significance related to the battle other than a spring house and ice house that was part of a large estate where CSA Brig,” the trust said in a statement. “It hinders our mission and what we are trying to accomplish.”

The Battle of Nashville trust made the decision after it was awarded a certain amount of estate of Dorris’ property, according to his will, The Tennessean reported

This comes as the statue of Forrest was vandalized multiple times over the past few years, WKRN reported. 

Forrest, the KKK’s first grand wizard, was a plantation owner and slave trader before becoming a Confederate cavalry general during the Civil War.  

In a statement, Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee (R) thanked the members of the Capitol Commission, Historical Commission, and State Building Commission for providing insight throughout the removal process, WKRN noted. 

“I thank the members of the Capitol Commission, Historical Commission and State Building Commission for providing thoughtful input and ensuring confidence in the process,” Lee said. “The State Museum provides the full historical context for these figures as we remember our state’s rich and complex past.”

Tags Bill Lee Confederate statues nashville Nathan Bedford Forrest Statue Tenneessee

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