LOLZ. You can’t outsmart a determined white man who loves his people’s history.
NASHVILLE, Tennessee (NBC News) — State Rep. Raumesh Akbari, D-Memphis, has to pass by a bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest at the state Capitol several times a week. She has no choice, but said she would never vote to pass a resolution honoring the former Klansman and slave owner.
“If we know nothing else, we know Nathan Bedford Forrest was a slave owner, and slavery is the cruelest, most inhumane part of our history,” said Akbari while speaking on the House floor Saturday.
But that resolution passed unanimously 94-0. Many lawmakers say they were tricked. It was slipped in to the consent calendar by Rep. Mike Sparks, R-Smyrna.
“It was deceitful to the whole body. Nobody in here knew of his intent. He had bypassed the process,” said state Rep. Johnnie Turner, D-Memphis.
Earlier this year, Sparks introduced a resolution to honor Forrest. It didn’t pass.
Two weeks ago, Sparks tried again. The new resolution looks strikingly like the first, but this time he put it under a different name, Shane Kastler, who wrote a book about Forrest.
Sparks also put it in the consent calendar, which typically passes quickly and without discussion because it’s designed for non-controversial recognitions only.
“I can’t begin to describe, I can’t believe that anybody would do something that underhanded when he knew how we felt,” Turner said.
Sparks did not return Channel 4’s calls or text messages. He did apologize on the House floor.
“I apologize if I offended any members of the black caucus,” Sparks said.
Meanwhile, those black caucus members remain outraged. They said they’re offended by the resolution itself and the fact that they said Sparks undermined the entire legislative process.
“I mean that was a double whammy. I mean in our face. I’m going to do this anyway. I don’t care how it infuriates you or what it does to your history. I’m going to do it. Well, he won’t do that again,” Turner said.
The resolution has already passed. It’s signed and cannot be undone.
There is talk of passing another resolution expressing discontent with the Forrest resolution.
Akbari said she plans to examine the consent calendar even more closely in the future.