Sen. Raumesh Akbari marks vote to remove Forrest bust from Capitol: ‘Progress is possible’

Senator Raumesh Akbari (D-Memphis)

NASHVILLE — Sen. Raumesh Akbari (D-Memphis) issued a statement today applauding a vote to remove a bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest from Tennessee’s Capitol Building.

Sen. Akbari’s full statement:

From the Fort Pillow massacre to roving lynch mobs, from Jim Crow to the assassination of MLK, Jr., it’s time for us, as one people, to heal the wounds of the past.

Much like this bust symbolizes the pain and suffering of slavery and ​terror, removing the likeness of Nathan Bedford Forrest from a place of honor in Tennessee’s Capitol is a symbol of much needed reconciliation.

No doubt we have work to do to achieve equality and justice for all people, but today’s vote shows that progress is possible.

A debt of deep gratitude is due to the community leaders and protestors who for decades have spoken out against this icon of white supremacy.

But a great thanks is also due to Gov. Bill Lee and his office for recognizing the importance of this cause and seeing it through.

​The process to remove the bust began more than a year ago with a petition approved by the Capitol Commission. After a concurring vote of the state Historical Commission in March and today’s vote by the State Building Commission, the bust of Forrest will be relocated to the state museum.

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