Lawmakers question bust of Klan leader in Tennessee capitol

A bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Confederate general and an early leader in the Ku Klux Klan, sits in an alcove outside the Senate chambers at the Tennessee statehouse.

Both Democratic and Republican lawmakers called for the bust to be removed Monday, days after nine people were gunned down in a historic black church in South Carolina, prompting a debate over whether the Confederate battle flag should be banned from the statehouse there.

U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, a Democrat from Tennessee, wrote that the government should not promote “symbols of hate” and called for both to be removed.

Forrest, a Tennessee native, was an early leader in the Ku Klux Klan, though the bust is inscribed with only “Confederate States Army.” It has been at the Capitol for decades.

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