Monday, Tennessee state officials said they would not plant trees to block the 25 foot statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest, despite what the city council wanted. Forrest was a General in the Confederate Army and was once a member of the KKK, but later left the group when it became too radical. It really should be noted for all those that don’t know about it. In 1957, by an act of congress, it was established that those who fought and or died in the civil war are to be listed as US military veterans. ALL, not just union soldiers. So all these calls to remove statues and rename military posts are actually calls against US veterans.
The statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest sits on private land. Nashville’s Metro Council passed a resolution requesting that the state’s department of transportation plant vegetation to block the view from Interstate 65. But the department denied the request because it said it does not plant vegetation to block private land.
The fiberglass statue depicts Forrest on horseback, surrounded by Confederate flags. When it was erected in 1998, the state cleared vegetation to make it visible from the interstate. Former state Sen. Douglas Henry, D-Nashville, led those efforts. The statue was designed by one of the attorneys hired by James Earl Ray, who assassinated Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968.
Although he did not found the Ku Klux Klan, Forrest was its first Grand Wizard. After a couple of years, however, he saw where the organization was headed and decided to repudiate it. Instead, he went in for building a railroad between Memphis and Selma, Alabama. The reputation as the perpetrator of the Fort Pillow massacre and his association with the KKK continued to follow him. As he began to suffer bad health, Forrest tried to become a force for good in the South and even became supportive of the African-Americans with whom he dealt, to the extent that hundreds honored him at his funeral when he died of advanced diabetes in 1877. (H/T Tarnmoor)
Megan Barry, a councilwoman and mayoral candidate in Nashville, has been pushing the effort to block the statue. “I am optimistic that we may be able to see action taken on this issue. I will happily work with the governor to raise the private funds necessary to make this happen in a way that does not detract from other road projects.”
No one is denying that slavery was, is, and will always be an evil institution, however, history still supports that the Civil War was not started to uphold slavery. African tribes sold each other as slaves, more Native Americans were killed than any other group, and the North was guilty of as many crimes as the South. Stop trying to cover up history to make yourselves feel better. Instead teach true history and learn from its mistakes and successes, from all groups. No one group is more or less guilty. If we want this nation to change for the better, we should all start with ourselves.