It is Nathan Bedford Forrest Day in the State of Tennessee.
Forrest, a Confederate general, slave trader and an early member of the Ku Klux Klan. Tennessee law requires governors to recognize six dates of “special observance,” including July 13 as “Nathan Bedford Forrest Day”; June 3 as “Memorial Day” or “Confederate Decoration Day”; and January 19 as “Robert E. Lee Day.”
CNN reports that Governor Bill Lee signed a proclamation memorializing the day Saturday morning.
Lee told The Tennessean
Thursday that he signed the bill “because the law requires that I do that and I haven’t looked at changing that law.”
Even though it’s happened every year, this year’s proclamation drew criticism amid a national debate over Confederate memorials and other means to remember or honor southerners who fought to preserve slavery.
The proclamation garnered bipartisan backlash on social media, drawing condemnation from Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen of Tennessee, and many others.