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William Cocke Should Replace Nathan Bedford Forrest in Tennessee State Capitol

William Cocke Should Replace Nathan Bedford Forrest in Tennessee State Capitol
Sen. William Cocke, Democratic-Republican-Tenn.

By Monday, 12 April 2021 01:23 PM Current | Bio | Archive

There has been much discussion in Tennessee centered on a particular bust in the enclaves of the Tennessee State Capitol in Nashville, Tennessee.

For the last few years, legislators, activists, journalists and protestors alike have advocated for removing the statue of General Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Confederate general and former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. While Forrest had defenders, it was not hard to see why the bust was polarizing.

Those on the right side of the aisle believed Forrest’s statute deserved to be in a museum as opposed to the enclaves of the Capitol, advocating for Tennesseans more deserving to replace him, and those on the left wanted the bust removed due to the ongoing movement of tearing down monuments and statues from American past.

Ultimately, the Tennessee Historical Commission voted to move the bust from the Capitol over to the Tennessee State Museum with a vote of 25-1. The decision eased the minds of many in Nashville. The question now moves to “Who will replace Forrest in the Capitol?”

There have been many ideas thrown around. People such as former U.S. Senators Howard Baker and Al Gore, Medal of Honor recipient Sergeant Alvin York, and even country music legend Dolly Parton have all been names mentioned to replace Bedford Forrest.

However, one name should stand above them all and earn his spot in remembrance: Senator William Cocke.

Now, many Tennesseans, let alone those nationally, probably have no idea who Cocke is, which is a horrible shame. He was one of the first two United States Senators to represent Tennessee, alongside William Blount, and is known as one of the first explorers of what would become the eastern part of Tennessee when he traveled to well-known frontiersman Daniel Boone.

Cocke was a founding father of the state and was chosen as a delegate to write the original Tennessee Constitution and appointed as a First Judicial Court Judge in 1809.

His service extends even beyond Tennessee as well. Cocke served as a state legislator in five different U.S. states, including Tennessee, Mississippi, North Carolina, Virginia, and Kentucky. As an award for this service in the judiciary, nationally in serving a multitude of state legislatures in the South, and as a Tennessee founding father, Cocke also was appointed to be Indian Agent (at that time, an ambassador) to the Chickasaw Nation under the James Madison administration.

As a Cocke County resident, which is the Northeast Tennessee County named after him, I have an inherent bias in my ideal selection to replace Forrest with Senator Cocke. His resume and meaning to Tennessee in the many different hats he wore when it came to public servitude and his contribution to our great state are undeniable in terms of influence and impact earns him a place in the enclaves.

Not only should he replace Forrest, but he should have had a place in the enclaves a long time ago. It is time to give Senator Cocke his deserved recognition in the Tennessee State Capitol.

Kenny Cody is a 24-year old conservative writer and activist from Northeast Tennessee. In addition to his work as a conservative writer and activist, Cody also serves as an English teacher for Cosby Elementary School. Read Kenny Cody's Reports — More Here.

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Now, many Tennesseans, let alone those nationally, probably have no idea who Cocke is, which is a horrible shame.
williamcocke, tennesse
Monday, 12 April 2021 01:23 PM
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