Governor Bill Lee has signed a proclamation for Saturday to be observed as "Nathan Bedford Forrest Day" in Tennessee, in accordance with a previously signed state law.
The day honors Forrest, a Confederate general and a former grand wizard of the early Ku Klux Klan.
"Nathan Bedford Forrest Day" is among six separate days of special observation included in the law, which includes two others pertaining to the Confederacy.
"Robert E. Lee Day" (Jan. 18) and "Confederate Decoration Day," also known as "Confederate Memorial Day" and the birthday of "Confederate President Jefferson Davis" (June 3) are also recognized in accordance with the state law.
The law also proclaims for "Abraham Lincoln Day" (Feb. 12), and "Andrew Jackson Day" (March 15) and "Veterans Day" (Nov. 11) to be observed.
Tennessee Code 15-2-101 states the following:
"Each year it is the duty of the governor of this state to proclaim the following as days of special observance: January 19, "Robert E. Lee Day"; February 12, "Abraham Lincoln Day"; March 15, "Andrew Jackson Day"; June 3, "Memorial Day" or "Confederate Decoration Day"; July 13, "Nathan Bedford Forrest Day"; and November 11, "Veterans' Day." The governor shall invite the people of this state to observe the days in schools, churches, and other suitable places with appropriate ceremonies expressive of the public sentiment befitting the anniversary of such dates."
A representative from Gov. Lee's office reiterated to FOX 17 News that the governor is required "to issue a series of proclamations each year for six days that are outlined within the law."
"To meet our legal obligation, Gov. Lee signed the same proclamation that has been signed in years past," the representative said. "To be clear, a new law has not been signed – it’s a proclamation in accordance with the existing law that the governor must follow."
Democratic politicians have pushed for past governors to change the law, as well as for a bust honoring Forrest on display in the state Capitol to be taken down.