NASHVILLE, TN (WSMV) - The State Capitol Commission voted on Thursday in favor of removing the bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest from the Tennessee State Capitol. 

The decision by the State Capitol Commission means they are petitioning the Historical Commission to move the bust from the Capitol to the Tennessee State Museum.

Nine members of the commission voted to remove the bust while two "passed" and one voted against the removal. 

Commissioner Butch Eley, chairman of the State Capitol Commission released a statement on decision. 

“Tennessee has a rich history and we study history so that we learn from it. But there is a better place for us to showcase our history such as General Forrest’s bust, and that place is the state museum. Tennesseans who reached out to me were overwhelmingly in favor of moving General Forrest’s likeness to the state museum, where we can feature all facets of the struggle that marks our history and makes us who we are today - many cultures, many backgrounds and histories, all with a great love for our state and all its people.”

The State Capitol Commission also voted to petition the state Historical Commission to remove to two other busts from the State Capitol and add them to the museum. They are the busts of U.S. Admiral David Farragut, who was in the Union Navy, and U.S. Navy Admiral Albert Gleaves. 

Gov. Bill Lee called for the removal of the bust on Wednesday and was the first speaker at the commission meeting on Thursday. Lee "commended" the commission for their decision. 

“I commend members of the State Capitol Commission for taking up the Nathan Bedford Forrest bust issue and arriving at a thoughtful resolution that provides important historical context for the bust at the State Museum. Scripture implores us to live in peaceful unity and I believe today’s actions reflect this and our commitment to remembering all parts of our past," Lee said in a statement on Thursday.

Tennessee Sen. Brenda Gilmore, D-Nashville, was the second speaker at the commission meeting and also called for the removal of bust. She thanked the members for their vote.

"Their action today is a direct result of the people who have made their voices heard on this issue since the bust was installed. Today we have begun to right a wrong," Gilmore said in a statement on Thursday.

Protesters were at the State Capitol on Thursday and a loud cheer and round of applause could be heard from the crowd outside the meeting chambers. They have demonstrated for close to four weeks with part of their goal being the removal of the bust.

The ACLU of Tennessee released a statement in favor of removing the statue.

"Removing the bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest from the capitol would move us a step closer toward ensuring that the history we choose to celebrate and honor in our public spaces reflects respect and dignity for all Tennesseans," the statement read in part. 

 

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