TN Politics: Black Lawmakers Confront "Culture" of Racism in Legislature

Aug 2, 2019

President Donald Trump kicked off this week's news cycle with a sustained attack on civil rights icon Elijah Cummings and the city of Baltimore. While many critics called out his tweets as racist, Trump defended his language. Political analyst Otis Sanford says the president's rhetoric has become increasingly racially divisive.

Here in the state, the Tennessee Black Caucus held a town hall on Tuesday at the National Civil Rights Museum, where Rep. Antonio Parkinson brought up the "elephant in the room," the "culture of racism" in the state capital. Parkinson pointed to the bust of slave merchant Nathan Bedford Forrest and Republicans' withdrawing funding from Memphis' Bicentennial celebration as punishment for removing Confederate iconography from its city parks.

Sanford isn't sure that boldfaced criticism will affect major changes, but he notes that Gov. Bill Lee's position seems to be evolving on the Confederate statue.