NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WJHL) — A bill introduced in the Tennessee House week would get rid of Nathan Bedford Forrest Day if passed by the General Assembly.
State law declares July 13 a special observance day in honor of Forrest, a Confederate general lauded for his tactics during the Civil War but denounced for being a slave trader before the war and an early leader of the Ku Klux Klan.
The law requires the governor to make proclamations every year for each special observance day listed, which includes Robert E. Lee Day, Abraham Lincoln Day, Memorial Day or Confederate Decoration Day, Andrew Jackson Day, and others.
Each year it is the duty of the governor of this state to proclaim the following as days of special observance: January 19, “Robert E. Lee Day”; February 12, “Abraham Lincoln Day”; March 15, “Andrew Jackson Day”; June 3, “Memorial Day” or “Confederate Decoration Day”; July 13, “Nathan Bedford Forrest Day”; and November 11, “Veterans’ Day.” 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.Tenn. Code Ann. § 15-2-101
Last July, Gov. Bill Lee signed a proclamation as required but said he “didn’t like it” and wanted to work with state lawmakers to change the law.