Surely the facts are Historically Correct.
“Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour said Tuesday he
won’t denounce a Southern heritage group’s
proposal for a state-issued license plate that would h
onor Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest,
who was an early leader of the Ku Klux Klan.
Barbour is a potential 2012 Republican presidential
We’ll see about that “potential.”
“Questioned by reporters Tuesday after an energy
speech in Jackson, Barbour said he doesn’t think
Mississippi legislators will approve the Forrest
license plate proposed by the Mississippi Division
of Sons of Confederate Veterans.
The group wants to sponsor a series of state-issued
license plates over the next few years to mark the 1
50th anniversary of the Civil War – or in its words,
the “War Between the States.” The Forrest license
plate would be slated for 2014.
Mississippi NAACP president Derrick Johnson said
it’s “absurd” to honor a “racially divisive figure” such
as Forrest. Johnson has also called on Barbour to
denounce the license plate idea.
Asked about the NAACP’s stance Tuesday, Barbour
replied: “I don’t go around denouncing people.
That’s not going to happen. I don’t even denounce
the news media.”
Asked to clarify what he thinks is not going to
happen, Barbour said he believes lawmakers won’t
approve a specialty license plate depicting Forrest.
“I know there’s not a chance it’ll become law,”
Forrest, a Tennessee native, is revered by some as a
military genius and reviled by others for leading an
1864 massacre of black Union troops at Fort Pillow,
Tenn. Forrest was a Ku Klux Klan grand wizard in
Tennessee after the war.
Johnson of the National Association for the
Advancement of Colored People said Tuesday that
Barbour’s response to the proposed license plate
“I find it curious that the governor won’t come out
and clearly denounce the efforts of the Sons of C
onfederate Veterans to honor Nathan Bedford
Forrest,” Johnson said. “As the head of the state, he
shouldn’t tap dance around the question.”
Sons of Confederate Veterans member Greg Stewart
told The Associated Press last week he believes
Forrest distanced himself from the Klan later in life.
It’s a point many historians agree upon, though
some believe it was too little, too late, because the
Klan had already turned violent before Forrest left.”
“John Coski, who is a historian at the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, Virginia is quoted as saying: “Was Forrest the founder of the Klan? No.” Forrest was, however, an early member of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK). Civil War historian, author and Forrest biographer Brian Steel Wills writes, “While there is no doubt that Forrest joined the Klan, there is some question as to whether he actually was the Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.”The KKK (the Klan) was formed by veterans of the Confederate Army in Pulaski, Tennessee in 1866 and soon expanded throughout the state and beyond. Forrest became involved sometime in late 1866 or early 1867. A common report is that Forrest arrived in Nashville in April 1867 while the Klan was meeting at the Maxwell House Hotel, probably at the encouragement of a state Klan leader, former Confederate general George Gordon. The organization had grown to the point where an experienced commander was needed, and Forrest fitted the bill. In Room 10 of the Maxwell, Forrest was sworn in as a member.
According to Wills, in the August 1867 state elections the Klan was relatively restrained in its actions. White Americans who made up the KKK hoped to persuade black voters that a return to their state of repression and near-slavery, as it existed before the war, was in their best interest. Forrest assisted in maintaining order. It was only after these efforts failed that Klan violence and intimidation escalated and became widespread. Author Andrew Ward, however, writes, “In the spring of 1867, Forrest and his dragons launched a campaign of midnight parades; ‘ghost’ masquerades; and ‘whipping’ and even ‘killing Negro voters and white Republicans, to scare blacks off voting and running for office.’”
In an 1868 interview by a Cincinnati newspaper, Forrest claimed that the Klan had 40,000 members in Tennessee and 550,000 total members throughout the Southern states. He said he sympathized with them, but denied any formal connection. He claimed he could muster thousands of men himself. He described the Klan as “a protective political military organization… The members are sworn to recognize the government of the United States… Its objects originally were protection against Loyal Leagues and the Grand Army of the Republic…” Forrest dissolved the first incarnation of the Ku Klux Klan in 1869, although many local groups continued their activities for several years.
Forrest testified before the Congressional investigation on Klan activities on June 27, 1871. Forrest denied membership, but his individual role in the KKK was beyond the scope of the investigating committee which wrote:
When it is considered that the origin, designs, mysteries, and ritual of the order are made secrets; that the assumption of its regalia or the revelation of any of its secrets, even by an expelled member, or of its purposes by a member, will be visited by ‘the extreme penalty of the law,’ the difficulty of procuring testimony upon this point may be appreciated, and the denials of the purposes, of membership in, and even the existence of the order, should all be considered in the light of these provisions. This contrast might be pursued further, but our design is not to connect General Forrest with this order, (the reader may form his own conclusion upon this question,) but to trace its development, and from its acts and consequences gather the designs which are locked up under such penalties.”
The committee also noted, “The natural tendency of all such organizations is to violence and crime; hence it was that General Forrest and other men of influence in the state, by the exercise of their moral power, induced them to disband.”
In 1875, Forrest demonstrated that his personal sentiments on the issue of race now differed from that of the Klan, when he was invited to give a speech before an organization of black Southerners advocating racial reconciliation, called the Independent Order of Pole-Bearers Association. At this, his last public appearance, he made what the New York Times described as a “friendly speech” during which, when offered a bouquet of flowers by a black woman, he accepted them as a token of reconciliation between the races and espoused a radically progressive (for the time) agenda of equality and harmony between black and white Americans.”
Yes, those flowers were real special.
“If Christian redemption means anything – and we all
want redemption, I think – he redeemed himself in
his own time, in his own actions, in his own words,”
Stewart said. “We should respect that.”
You don’t say.
Needless to say, Haley doesn’t think he has anything to apologize for.
And truth to tell, is it so different from THIS?
“I believe that the president is a citizen. I believe the president is a Christian. I’ll take him at his word,” said Boehner (R-Ohio), appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Boehner spoke after viewing a video of a Republican focus group in Iowa in which a number of people indicated that they thought Obama was a Muslim.
“As speaker of the House, as a leader, do you not think it’s your responsibility to speak out against that kind of ignorance?” asked the host, David Gregory.
“It’s not my job to tell the American people what to think,” Boehner said. “The American people have the right to think what they want to think.”
Hear the Dog Whistle? I’m sure you did.
Sing us out Randy