Via The Tennessean:
Gov. Bill Lee (Republican) has proclaimed Saturday as Nathan Bedford Forrest Day in Tennessee, a day of observation to honor the former Confederate general and early Ku Klux Klan leader whose bust is on display in the state Capitol.
Per state law, the Tennessee governor is tasked with issuing proclamations for six separate days of special observation, three of which, including the July 13 Forrest Day, pertain to the Confederacy.
Lee — and governors who have come before him — are also required by state law to proclaim Jan. 19 as Robert E. Lee Day, honoring the commander of the Confederate Army, as well as June 3 Confederate Decoration Day, otherwise known as Confederate Memorial Day and the birthday of Confederate President Jefferson Davis.
In April 1864, in what has been called “one of the bleakest, saddest events of American military history.”, troops under Forrest’s command massacred Union troops who had surrendered, most of them black soldiers along with some white Southern Tennesseans fighting for the Union, at the Battle of Fort Pillow.
Forrest was an early member of the Ku Klux Klan which was formed by six veterans of the Confederate Army in Pulaski, Tennessee during the spring of 1866. A common report is that Forrest arrived in Nashville in April 1867 while the Klan was meeting at the Maxwell House Hotel, probably at the encouragement of a state Klan leader, former Confederate general George Gordon
Brian Steel Wills quotes two KKK members who identified Forrest as a Klan leader. James R. Crowe stated, “After the order grew to large numbers we found it necessary to have someone of large experience to command. We chose General Forrest”
Forrest testified before the Congressional investigation of Klan activities on June 27, 1871. He denied membership, but his individual role in the KKK was beyond the scope of the investigating committee, which wrote: “Our design is not to connect General Forrest with this order .