In Tennessee, the Confederacy’s getting a weekend promotion.
Also being boosted: the KKK.
Governor Bill Lee signed a declaration officially making Saturday Nathan Bedford Forrest Day.
Who’s Nathan? Well, he was a Confederate general.
He was also a Grand Wizard — and I don’t mean of Oz.
As observed by Vice News:
He was the first Grand Wizard, and is believed to be responsible for Confederates massacring black Union troops. at Ft. Pillow during the Civil War, though his involvement has been disputed. He did eventually appear to renounce the Klan, and even called for its dissolution.
A positive change.
But what hasn’t been changed is the state law which requires the governor to annually proclaim as a holiday June 13th — slave trader Nathan’s birthday.
The gov has to do it? Yep.
Indeed, the 1921 law requires proclamations for six such special observances a year, including two others related to the Confederacy. Tennessee also declares Jan. 19 Robert E. Lee Day, a tribute to the commander of the Confederate army. June 3, the president of the Confederacy, Jefferson Davis’s birthday, is declared Confederate Decorations Day. Until 1969, each of those days was a legal state holiday.
Gov. Bill told The Tennessean Thursday:
“I signed the bill because the law requires that I do that and I haven’t looked at changing that law.”
Black Democratic state Rep. Harold Love is sittin’ on go for the alteration, as he made clear to Memphis’s ABC 24:
“I think for many of us that know this has happened have oftentimes wondered when would a governor ask us to assist in helping change the law.”
Sen. Ted Cruz wouldn’t mind an undo, either. He called for action on Twitter:
“This is WRONG. Nathan Bedford Forrest was a Confederate general & a delegate to the 1868 Democratic Convention. He was also a slave trader & the 1st Grand Wizard of the KKK. Tennessee should not have an official day (tomorrow) honoring him. Change the law.”
This is WRONG. Nathan Bedford Forrest was a Confederate general & a delegate to the 1868 Democratic Convention. He was also a slave trader & the 1st Grand Wizard of the KKK. Tennessee should not have an official day (tomorrow) honoring him. Change the law. https://t.co/XBgoRCBoI0
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) July 12, 2019
It won’t come soon enough to make a 2019 difference. So for now, it’s NBF Day.
As for the future, if the government’s gonna slash the law, it might wanna hire some movers, too. In fact, it could start there: a bust of Nathan sits at the state Capitol.
Until something is done, visitors to Nashville’s hallowed building on top of a hill are off to see the Wizard.
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