The League of Women Voters of Tennessee urges the State Capitol Commission and the Tennessee Historical Commission to remove the bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest from the Capitol. The Capitol is the peoples’ building and should be a welcoming place for all Tennesseans. Nathan Bedford Forrest is a divisive figure and honoring him is not representative of the values of respect and inclusivity to which the state aspires.
As the League celebrates the centennial of our organization and passage of the 19th Amendment, we also honor the courage, persistence and vision of our founding members. We have to admit that the passage of the 19th Amendment only provided the right to vote to some women. It took many more years of activism to give women of color access to the voting booth.
The League believes in individual liberties, civil rights, human rights and voting rights. These liberties and rights are fundamental elements of a viable democracy. Tennessee should demonstrate our commitment to democracy by making our public buildings, especially our state Capitol, a welcoming place for all Tennesseans. To accomplish this goal, the Forrest bust must be removed.
Marian Ott, president of the League of Women Voters of Tennessee
* * *