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White supremacy rising: Monument to KKK founder being rebuilt in Selma, Alabama

August 27, 2012

by Jean Damu

What do you suppose would happen if a group of American Muslims gathered and began to construct a monument to Osama bin Laden?

That’s right. There’d be hell to pay.

Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest
No one is attempting to build a statue to Osama. But in Selma, Alabama, no less, scene of historic battles for Black civil rights, white supremacy advocates are re-building a monument to an early American terrorist, war criminal and widely acknowledged founder of the Ku Klux Klan, Nathan Bedford Forrest.

Selma activist Malika Sanders is angry and she’s fighting back. One of her tactics has been to start an on-line petition campaign urging the City Council to step in and stop the racial abuse against the Black citizens of Selma.

The efforts to rebuild the Forrest statue are being promoted by the Friends of Forrest and the Daughters of the Confederacy. An earlier statue existed but someone stole the head. Now white supremacists want to build a bigger and better one.

Sanders is concerned that to date the nine-member Selma City Council – five Black members, four white – have taken no action.

Telephone calls were placed to Dr. Cecil Williamson, president of the council, and to several other council members to ask if they plan to respond to the building of a statue to hate, but as of this writing there have been no call backs.

Selma activist Malika Sanders is angry and she’s fighting back. One of her tactics has been to start an on-line petition campaign urging the City Council to step in and stop the racial abuse against the Black citizens of Selma.

Interviewed by Roland Martin on the Tom Joyner Morning Show, Sanders explained that there’s been an on-going battle between Black and white Selma citizens over a number of racial issues.

One, for instance, was the placing of African-Americans in public housing units and naming the complex after Forrest. “We fought that,” she said.

Martin suggested that some Southern whites just can’t wrap their heads around the fact they lost the Civil War.

Sanders quickly informed Martin the situation was far more serious than that. “No. It’s been a cold war.” At every juncture whites have attempted to take back what we’ve fought for, she said.

She explained, “Hate groups across America are looking to Selma as a model for ways for minorities to control majorities.” Selma is a majority Black city.

Undoubtedly Forrest is one of the most, if not the most, controversial figure from the Civil War. It’s bad enough he founded the KKK but what he did as a Confederate cavalry general should be taught to everyone and not forgotten.

“Hate groups across America are looking to Selma as a model for ways for minorities to control majorities.” Selma is a majority Black city.

Here is an account from Harper’s Weekly of April 30, 1864, of what took place:

“On the 12th April, the rebel General Forrest appeared before Fort Pillow, near Columbus, Kentucky, attacking it with considerable vehemence. This was followed up by frequent demands for its surrender, which were refused by Major Booth, who commanded the fort. The fight was then continued up until 3 p.m., when Major Booth was killed, and the rebels, in large numbers, swarmed over the intrenchments. Up to that time comparatively few of our men had been killed; but immediately upon occupying the place the rebels commenced an indiscriminate butchery of the whites and blacks, including the wounded. Both white and black were bayoneted, shot, or sabred; even dead bodies were horribly mutilated, and children of seven and eight years, and several negro women killed in cold blood. Soldiers unable to speak from wounds were shot dead, and their bodies rolled down the banks into the river. The dead and wounded negroes were piled in heaps and burned, and several citizens, who had joined our forces for protection, were killed or wounded. Out of the garrison of six hundred only two hundred remained alive. Three hundred of those massacred were negroes; five were buried alive. Six guns were captured by the rebels, and carried off, including two 10-pound Parrotts, and two 12-pound howitzers. A large amount of stores was destroyed or carried away.”

Almost a year later, on April 18, 1865, Harper’s Weekly editorialized:

Nathan Bedford Forrest, a slave trader before the Civil War, was the first grand wizard of the original Ku Klux Klan. “Here’s a man who killed African-Americans who had surrendered, who were not a threat to anybody, (who) formed the Ku Klux Klan,” said state Sen. Hank Sanders, D-Selma. He says the City Council has the power to stop the construction, because the cemetery is owned by the city. But Selma City Council President Cecil Williamson says the land on which the Forrest monument sits is actually controlled by the United Daughters of the Confederacy. Construction has been halted as of Aug. 24 until the ownership is determined.
“There is no evidence from Richmond, and there will be none, that Forrest’s murders differ from those of Quantrell. On the other hand, we must not forget that the same papers which brought the President’s speech promising retaliation brought us also the return of the rebel General in Florida, containing, for the relief of friends at home, the names and injuries of our wounded men in his hands, and the list included the colored soldiers of the Fifty-fourth and Fifty-fifth Massachusetts regiments. But if public opinion has justified a stronger policy from the beginning – if the criminally stupid promises of M’Clellan and Halleck to protect slavery and to repel the negroes coming to our lines had never been made, we should not now be confronted with this question, because the rebels would never have dared to massacre our soldiers after surrender. But yet to be deterred from retaliation from fear of still further crimes upon the part of the rebels is simple inhumanity.

“Let us either at once release every colored soldier and the officer of their regiments from duty, or make the enemy feel that they are our soldiers. It is very sad that rebel prisoners of war should be shot for the crimes of Forrest. But it is very sad, no less, that soldiers fighting for our flag have been buried alive after surrendering, and it is still sadder that such barbarities should be encouraged by refraining from retaliation. Do we mean to allow Mr. Jefferson Davis, or this man Forrest, or Quantrell, to dictate who shall, and who shall not, fight for the American flag? The massacre at Fort Pillow is a direct challenge to our Government to prove whether it is in earnest or not in emancipating slaves and employing colored troops. There should be no possibility of mistake in the reply. Let the action of the Government be as prompt and terrible as it will be final. Then the battles of this campaign will begin with the clear conviction upon the part of the rebels that we mean what we say; and that the flag will protect to the last, and by every means of war, including retaliation of blood, every soldier who fights for us beneath it.”

To build a monument and celebrate Nathan Bedford Forrest, an ideological ancestor of Heinrich Himmler, Reichsfuhrer of the SS (Schutzstaffel), is an act of racial abuse of outrageous proportions. Except for the passage of time, it equates to building a statue to Hitler in Tel Aviv.

To build a monument and celebrate Nathan Bedford Forrest is an act of racial abuse of outrageous proportions.

Protest the white supremacists in Selma and sign Malika Sanders’ petition at http://www.change.org/petitions/selma-city-council-no-more-monuments-to-kkk-hate?utm_campaign=mailto_link&utm_medium=email&utm_source=share_petition. 

Then call the City Council members and urge them to act. Below are cell phone numbers of most of the City Council members:

  • Dr. Cecil Williamson, president, (334) 418-4100
  • Thomas Atchison, (334) 419-1876
  • Susan Keith, (334) 349-0416
  • Greg Bjelke, (334) 327-5774
  • Angela Benjamin, (334) 349-5789
  • Samuel Randolph, (334) 349-2004
  • Benjamin Tucker, (334) 349-5041
  • Bennie Crenshaw, (334) 349-2006
  • Corey Bowie, (334) 875-1674

Jean Damu is the former western regional representative for N’COBRA, National Coalition of Blacks for Reparations in America, and a former member of the International Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, taught Black Studies at the University of New Mexico, has traveled and written extensively in Cuba and Africa and currently serves as a member of the Steering Committee of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration. Email him at jdamu2@yahoo.com. The quotations from Harper’s Weekly are unedited.

 

18 thoughts on “White supremacy rising: Monument to KKK founder being rebuilt in Selma, Alabama

  1. Bryan

    It is our history and I think If it were a statue of a Black leader there would not be much said. It is sad that we can have BET,or black spring break, or black movie night, but when it is something for white people it is automatically racist..whites are now the minority

    Reply
  2. renaldo ricketts

    This is a disgrace and travesty, thousands of Black men hanged in this country and they are attempting to pay tribute to a sick brute. If this is erected it should be blown up on the day it went up ! We should send a string message to racist sick craka .We're not going to tolerate this insult anaywhere in this country. It should be removed whern constructed and blown to rubble if they want trouble then it shallbe presented at their door steps. The audacity of these sick people to honor such a demented SOB is beyond insult, Am fitting to throw to fug up !

    Reply
  3. Selina

    "To build a monument and celebrate Nathan Bedford Forrest, an ideological ancestor of Heinrich Himmler, Reichsfuhrer of the SS (Schutzstaffel), is an act of racial abuse of outrageous proportions. Except for the passage of time, it equates to building a statue to Hitler in Tel Aviv."

    This nation has every right to celebrate all of it's CRIMINALS, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, George W. Bush, NIXON, REAGON the list goes on and if this criminal country wanna hold a monument to Killers, Pedophiles then so be it after all this is a nation of MURDERerS, THEIVES AND RAPISTS

    Reply
  4. Bob

    There should be more statues of black leaders. If BET, black movie night etc. bothers some people, one only need to turn on TV, movie to an all white cast, with the occasional token black, so as not to upset the white audience to much. I have many relatives who live in the south, racism and bigotry are part of their culture, throw in the diatribe of rightwing radio and bingo, it stays alive like a cancer eating away at our very moral fabric…..divide and conquer.

    Reply
  5. Barry Sanders

    Reverse racism has reached epic proportions. Example is this publication "national black newspaper". Yet there is no "national White Newspaper. Why? Because that would be racist, hence my point.

    Reply
  6. FUCK THAT SHIT

    There can be a BET/Black history month/etc just like there can be a :

    January:

    Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday (Third Monday of January)

    Robert E. Lee Day (January 19)

    Confederate Heroes Day (January 19)

    February:

    Black History Month

    African American Coaches Day (Feb 7)

    Man Day (Feb 12)

    NAACP Day (Feb 12)

    Frederick Douglass Day (Feb 14)

    March:

    Women’s History Month

    Irish-American Heritage Month

    Greek-American Heritage Month

    St. Urho’s Day (Finnish-American) (Mar 16)

    St. Patrick’s Day (March 17)

    Greek Independence Day (March 25)

    International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic (March 25)

    April:

    Arab-American Heritage Month

    Tartan (Scottish-American) Heritage Month

    Confederate History Month

    Tartan Day (April 6)

    Confederate Memorial Day (Varies depending on the state, usually on April 26 or June 3)

    May:

    South Asian Heritage Month

    Haitian Heritage Month

    Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

    Jewish-American Heritage Month

    Latino Books Month

    June:

    Caribbean American Heritage Month

    International Men’s Month

    Gay/Lesbian Pride Month

    Black Music Month

    Juneteenth

    Kamehameha Day (June 11)

    Honor America Days (June 14-July 4)

    Midsummer Day (Swedish Holiday celebrated in various places in America)

    July:

    French-American Heritage Month

    Bastille Day (July 14)

    August:

    Lughnasa (Irish Pagan Holiday) (August 1)

    International Lefthander’s Day (Aug 13) (Because we lefty’s need our own damn day)

    National Navajo Code Talkers Day (Aug 14)

    September

    Bourbon Heritage Month

    National Hispanic Heritage Month

    German-American Heritage Month

    National Historically Black Colleges & Universities Week

    Mayflower Day (September 16)

    Trail of Tears Commemoration Day (September 16)

    Ancestor Appreciation Day (September 27)

    October:

    Filipino American History Month

    Polish-American Heritage Month

    LGBT History Month

    Italian-American Heritage Month

    German-American Day (October 6)

    International African Diaspora Day (October 7)

    Columbus Day (October 8)

    Native American Day (October 8)

    Leif Erikson Day (October 9)

    General Pulaski Memorial Day (October 11)

    November:

    American Indian Heritage Month

    Alaska Native Heritage Month

    Dutch American Heritage Day (November 16) (Unofficial)

    And the only reason i named the dates is because of your petty argument. The “they get an entire month” is next.

    you’re worried about the wrong things. Especially since everything is white and minorities literally have to separate themselves (Like white people wanted in the first place) to get recognition. White people always wanna be involved in everything. If not, it’s reverse racism, yet they exclude everyone else from the necessities then blame it on some sick low blow stereotypes. “Stop being lazy!” (and please lets not get into affirmative action stating that you only have to interview minorities, not hire them). Why is this man being honored? the reason behind it is racist. KKK is a hate group, why should anything they have did/done be honored? Do we honor anti american hate groups? Anti-white hate groups? why should they have a monument?

    Reply
  7. FCKNOSIR

    There can be a BET/Black history month/etc just like there can be a :

    January:

    Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday (Third Monday of January)

    Robert E. Lee Day (January 19)

    Confederate Heroes Day (January 19)

    February:

    Black History Month

    African American Coaches Day (Feb 7)

    Man Day (Feb 12)

    NAACP Day (Feb 12)

    Frederick Douglass Day (Feb 14)

    March:

    Women’s History Month

    Irish-American Heritage Month

    Greek-American Heritage Month

    St. Urho’s Day (Finnish-American) (Mar 16)

    St. Patrick’s Day (March 17)

    Greek Independence Day (March 25)

    International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic (March 25)

    April:

    Arab-American Heritage Month

    Tartan (Scottish-American) Heritage Month

    Confederate History Month

    Tartan Day (April 6)

    Confederate Memorial Day (Varies depending on the state, usually on April 26 or June 3)

    May:

    South Asian Heritage Month

    Haitian Heritage Month

    Asian Pacific American Heritage Month

    Jewish-American Heritage Month

    Latino Books Month

    June:

    Caribbean American Heritage Month

    International Men’s Month

    Gay/Lesbian Pride Month

    Black Music Month

    Juneteenth

    Kamehameha Day (June 11)

    Honor America Days (June 14-July 4)

    Midsummer Day (Swedish Holiday celebrated in various places in America)

    July:

    French-American Heritage Month

    Bastille Day (July 14)

    August:

    Lughnasa (Irish Pagan Holiday) (August 1)

    International Lefthander’s Day (Aug 13) (Because we lefty’s need our own damn day)

    National Navajo Code Talkers Day (Aug 14)

    September

    Bourbon Heritage Month

    National Hispanic Heritage Month

    German-American Heritage Month

    National Historically Black Colleges & Universities Week

    Mayflower Day (September 16)

    Trail of Tears Commemoration Day (September 16)

    Ancestor Appreciation Day (September 27)

    October:

    Filipino American History Month

    Polish-American Heritage Month

    LGBT History Month

    Italian-American Heritage Month

    German-American Day (October 6)

    International African Diaspora Day (October 7)

    Columbus Day (October 8)

    Native American Day (October 8)

    Leif Erikson Day (October 9)

    General Pulaski Memorial Day (October 11)

    November:

    American Indian Heritage Month

    Alaska Native Heritage Month

    Dutch American Heritage Day (November 16) (Unofficial)

    And the only reason i named the dates is because of your petty argument. The "they get an entire month" is next.

    you're worried about the wrong things. Especially since everything is white and minorities literally have to separate themselves (Like white people wanted in the first place) to get recognition. White people always wanna be involved in everything. If not, it's reverse racism, yet they exclude everyone else from the necessities then blame it on some sick low blow stereotypes. "Stop being lazy!" (and please lets not get into affirmative action stating that you only have to interview minorities, not hire them). Why is this man being honored? the reason behind it is racist. KKK is a hate group, why should anything they have did/done be honored? Do we honor anti american hate groups? Anti-white hate groups? why should they have a monument?

    Reply
  8. First Lady of CSA

    To the author of this article. Please study some history before attempting to write an article which removes all doubt about your ignorance. Stupid! General Nathan Bedford Forrest did not found the KKK. I suggest you read history written by people who lived in this time period and not Wikipedia.

    Reply
  9. Kermit Lee Albritton

    I think you need to read some more. Among Federal troops, surrender to Forest was often hoped for, as he would be fair and treat them well; most likely, they would be quickly parolled. If he was such a hater, as you cliam, why did he quit the kkk when it began to turn violent agaist Southerners and Africans; and why did Forrest write authorizaiton of emacipation in Novermber of 1864 for 51 of the 54 Africans who followed him into war? Three of them had died at the hands of Federals, but the rest were free to go home and care for their families; most stayed and continued to fight for freedom. I think that before you put your foot in your mouth, you should clean off the dog crap of revised history that you have been reading and try a little more factual research.

    Reply
  10. Regina Christianson

    Kermit, of what importance are your statements about Forest’s fair treatment of white Federal Troops or his emancipation of slaves who followed him when the issue is a massacre of black men, women, and children, racism, slavery, his founding of the KKK. There were many “fine gentlemen” in the South who are nonetheless guilty of rape, slaughter of unarmed civilians and surrendering soldiers, and who participated in the KKK. The fact that he founded the KKK is reason enough to refuse this statue, however much he might have come to regret that founding. The question is WHY anyone would want to erect a statue of HIM NOW. The answer is troubling.

    Reply
  11. Kerry McCollough

    For those of you who distrust wikipedia…
    http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2004/winter/a-different-kind-of-hero

    For those of you splitting hairs, I don’t think it matters whether Forrest founded or lead the KKK–what he did do is sufficiently evil.

    For those of you who use the comparative to object to other bad actors being honored, well, two (or five or 500) wrongs don’t make a right.

    For those of you fretting about whites being a “minority,” look at the faces of those running the show (corporate and political) and grow up.

    Forrest did terrible things and the notion that anyone thinks he merits honor is truly unnerving.

    To use ownership in a cemetery (whether true or not), to inflict this memorial on the larger community is cruel and childish–the act of bullies and true to Forrest’s legacy.

    Reply
  12. Brian Cox

    Reporting that Forrest was the grand wizard of the KKK as fact is like reporting on the loch ness monster and bigfoot. It blows my mind how "educated people" take urban legend as fact without doing ANY research into the truth. Want to focus on the big racist in the Civil War? Try Abraham Lincoln. Do some research on how many times on record he said that black people were inferior to whites. It was his idea to colonize all black people to liberia after the war and make the united states an all white nation. The beloved "Emancipator" emancipated no one! And at the time when NBF was allegedly even a member of the KKK it was for defense aganst northern carpetbaggers coming into the south after the war. One last thing to really blow your mind and I live in middle tennessee and know this to be fact. There was an all-black chapter of the KKK that operated out of Nashville in the 1860's! So even if he was a member(NEVER a grand wizard), if black people were members then how can he be anymore racist then them?

    Reply
  13. Sunnie

    Black people will never be inferior to whites. Between latinos, blacks and every other race here in the US,white people will soon be the minority. White people no longer have power. If every race stood against white and did what they did to blacks and Jews years ago…….. They would lose. America has changed, most of the "good old boys are either dead or old.

    Reply
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    Great post. I was checking constantly this blog and I'm impressed! Extremely helpful info specifically the last part :) I care for such information much. I was looking for this certain information for a very long time. Thank you and best of luck.

    Reply

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