A statue of an early Ku Klux Klan leader and Confederate general that long raised the ire of motorists along Tennessee’s Interstate 65 was removed Tuesday morning from the private property where it sat for decades.
The owner of the land where the Nathan Bedford Forrest statue was recently died, NBC affiliate WSMV of Nashville reported.
Bill Dorris left the property to the Battle of Nashville Trust, and the group had the statue removed.
The statue of Forrest “is ugly” and even he would think so, the trust said in a statement. Forrest “was not present at the Battle of Nashville,” and the property “has no historical significance,” it said.
Democratic State Senator Heidi Campbell called the statue’s removal “great news.”
“As Oak Hill Mayor I implored the state to allow vegetation to grow in front of it (they kept that particular stretch trimmed in a way that was inconsistent with the rest of the roadside),” she tweeted.
Dorris is said to have placed the statue alongside the highway to showcase the “area’s history,” WSMV reported.
As news of the statue’s removal spread online, social media users noted the peculiarly poor rendering of Forrest’s face, with his jaw hanging open.
“It’s a very strange looking statue at best. I’d like to know what the artist was thinking,” one Twitter user noted.
Other monuments to Forrest have sparked controversy for decades. In July, a bust was removed from the Tennessee Capitol and relocated to a nearby museum after years of debate, part of a long stream of confederate memorabilia and monuments that have fallen in recent years.
The roadside statue was vandalized with pink paint in 2017, which Dorris vowed to leave, according to the Tennesseean: “They’ve been trying to figure out how to cover it up,” he said. “I do think they’ve chosen a real good color.”