General Nathan Bedford Forrest has made the news again! He seems to be a lightning rod, 151 years after the end of the “Civil War”. Known as a self-educated and innovative cavalry leader during the war, he has become extremely controversial in recent years, because of his connection with the Ku Klux Klan.
The clan was a secret vigilante organization, started after the war, and Forrest served as the first “Grand Wizard”. Another controversy also surrounded Forrest during the war, when many African-American Union troops were killed in battle during the attack of Fort Pillow on the Mississippi River in Henning, Tennessee. Did Forrest conduct or condone a massacre of the Black soldiers who surrendered there?
Forrest’s men insisted they shot in self defense. The Union survivors said otherwise. At any rate his bust has been stolen from the Confederate Circle at Live Oak Cemetery in Selma and a $ 20,000.00 reward has been offered. Was it melted down for the copper or taken from meanness?
Black residents are shedding no tears over the loss. but Benjamin Austin, spokesman for the group offering the reward called on “all persons to stand against any attacks on our common history, its monuments or memorials”.
He went on to say “all history must be preserved and protected for future generations”. I remember how sick Montgomerians were a few years ago when black paint was poured on the Confederate Monument that stands on the north side of the Alabama State Capitol.