Forrest County namesake stirs debate at home, in other states

Forrest County namesake stirs debate at home, in other states

FORREST COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - In the midst of recent controversy surrounding the Confederate flag in several southern states, including Mississippi, a county's namesake is also creating conversation.

Forrest County, Mississippi, is named after Confederate Lt. Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, who was also the first leader of the Ku Klux Klan. Sen. Billy Hudson (R- Forrest County) said while he was not happy the county was named after Forrest, he would not change the county's name, which he said would take the action of the state legislature.

"I'm not for having a picture or a statue of Bedford Forrest sitting around if there is such a thing on county land," Hudson said.

The Forrest County Chancery Building has a portrait of Forrest hanging in the "Green Room," which is a conference room near the Forrest County Board of Supervisors' offices. Hudson served as a supervisor for eight years before being elected to the Mississippi Senate, but he said removing Forrest's portrait did not cross his mind at the time.

A similar call to action was made in Tennessee, which is the confederate general's home state.

United States Congressman Jim Cooper (D- Tenn.) said "all symbols of hatred really need to stop being promoted by government," requesting a bust of Forrest in the Tennessee state capital be moved to a museum.

Hudson, who also said he would be in favor of another vote to consider changes to the Mississippi state flag, said it is time for people to move forward.

"Let us press on you, and move forward with the future of our county and our state," he said.