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Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee blasted for honoring slave owner, KKK leader

Photo: via Office of the Governor (Tennessee)

Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee is catching flack for a bill he signed that honors a known racist.

On Monday, July 15, 2019, Lee signed the Nathan Bedford Forrest Day bill into law to honor the Confederate general who was a leader of the Ku Klux Klan and a slave trader, according to the Tennessean.

Born in 1821, Forrest gained wealth after becoming a plantation owner and slave trader in the 1840s. During the Civil War, he served as a general in the Confederate Army. After the war, Forrest continued his racist antics by becoming the first leader of the American terrorist organization, the KKK. He would eventually be known as a Grand Wizard of the KKK.

Lee, who is a Republican and Trump supporter, defended his decision to honor Forrest by claiming that he was forced to do it because of a law, Tennessee Code 15-2-101, that mandates Nathan Bedford Forrest Day. The law also mandated that Confederate Army general Robert E. Lee be honored.

Following the signing of the bill, Lee was blasted on social media.