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Miss. license plate proposed to honor KKK leader
February 10, 2011
11:18 pm
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Feb 10, 7:45 AM (ET)

By EMILY WAGSTER PETTUS

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - A fight is brewing in Mississippi over a proposal to issue specialty license plates honoring Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, who was an early leader of the Ku Klux Klan.

The Mississippi Division of Sons of Confederate Veterans wants to sponsor a series of state-issued license plates to mark the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, which it calls the "War Between the States." The group proposes a different design each year between now and 2015, with Forrest slated for 2014.

"Seriously?" state NAACP president Derrick Johnson said when he was told about the Forrest plate. "Wow."

Forrest, a Tennessee native, is revered by some as a military genius and reviled by others for leading the 1864 massacre of black Union troops at Fort Pillow, Tenn. Forrest was a Klan grand wizard in Tennessee after the war.

Sons of Confederate Veterans member Greg Stewart said 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.

"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."

State Department of Revenue spokeswoman Kathy Waterbury said legislators would have to approve a series of Civil War license plates. She said if every group that has a specialty license plate wanted a redesign every year, it would take an inordinate amount time from Department of Revenue employees who have other duties.

SCV has not decided what the Forrest license plate would look like, Stewart said. Opponents are using their imagination.

A Facebook group called "Mississippians Against The Commemoration Of Grand Wizard Nathan Forrest" features a drawing of a hooded klansman in the center of a regular Mississippi car tag.

Robert McElvaine, director of history department at the private Millsaps College in Jackson, joined the Facebook group. McElvaine said Forrest's role at Fort Pillow and involvement in the Klan make him unworthy of being honored, even on the bumpers of cars.

"The idea of celebrating such a person, whatever his accomplishments in other areas may have been, seems like a very poor idea," McElvaine told The Associated Press.

Mississippi lawmakers have shown a decidedly laissez-faire attitude toward allowing a wide variety groups to have speciality license plates, which usually sell for an extra $30 to $50 a year. The state sells more than 100 specialty plates for everything from wildlife conservation to breast cancer awareness. One design says "God Bless America," another depicts Elvis Presley. Among the biggest sellers are NASCAR designs and one with the slogan "Choose Life."

The Mississippi Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans has had a state-issued specialty license plate since 2003 to raise money for restoration of Civil War-era flags. From 2003 through 2010, the design featured a small Confederate battle flag.

The Department of Revenue allowed the group to revise the license plate this year for the first of the Civil War sesquicentennial designs. The 2011 plate, now on sale, depicts the Beauvoir mansion in Biloxi, Miss., the final home of Jefferson Davis, the Confederate president.

SCV wants license plates to feature Civil War battles that took place in Mississippi. It proposes a Battle of Corinth design for 2012 and Siege of Vicksburg design for 2013. Stewart said the 2015 plate would be a tribute to Confederate veterans.

Johnson, with the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, said he's not bothered by Civil War commemorative license plates generally. But he said Mississippi shouldn't honor Forrest, who was an early leader of what he calls "a terrorist group."

"He should be viewed in the same light that we view Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden," Johnson said of Forrest. "The state of Mississippi should deny any vanity tags which would highlight racial hatred in this state."

Democratic Rep. Willie Bailey, who handles license plate requests in the House, said he has no problem with SCV seeking any design it wants.

"If they want a tag commemorating veterans of the Confederacy, I don't have a problem with it," said Bailey, who is black. "They have that right. We'll look at it. As long as it's not offensive to anybody, then they have the same rights as anybody else has."

http://apnews.myway.com/articl.....TRQG0.html

We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm

February 10, 2011
11:23 pm
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Nathan Bedford Forrest was not a formally educated man but was a great General who ran rings around the better educated Yankee Generals...

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Nathan Bedford Forrest had Black Bodyguards after the WBTS did found the KKK but later disbanded it for its activities....

The Post WBTS KKK even had Jewish Members as well ....

We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm

February 15, 2011
7:33 pm
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Ironic that the NAACP is protesting this. The Jubilee of Pole Bearers was the forerunner to the NAACP and back in 1875 Forrest was the first white man to be be invited to give a speech at one of their meetings. Forrest, for all his faults, seemed to have been a supporter of blacks, even going so far as to promote the idea that rail road employees should be hired on ability, regardless of skin color (he owned/managed a rail road after the war). he speech reads,

["Ladies and Gentlemen, I accept the flowers as a memento of reconciliation between the white and colored races of the Southern states. I accept it more particularly as it comes from a colored lady, for if there is any one on God's earth who loves the ladies I believe it is myself. (Immense applause and laughter.) I came here with the jeers of some white people, who think that I am doing wrong. I believe I can exert some influence, and do much to assist the people in strengthening fraternal relations, and shall do all in my power to elevate every man, to depress none.

(Applause.)

I want to elevate you to take positions in law offices, in stores, on farms, and wherever you are capable of going. I have not said anything about politics today. I don't propose to say anything about politics. You have a right to elect whom you please; vote for the man you think best, and I think, when that is done, you and I are freemen. Do as you consider right and honest in electing men for office. I did not come here to make you a long speech, although invited to do so by you. I am not much of a speaker, and my business prevented me from preparing myself. I came to meet you as friends, and welcome you to the white people. I want you to come nearer to us. When I can serve you I will do so. We have but one flag, one country; let us stand together. We may differ in color, but not in sentiment. Many things have been said about me which are wrong, and which white and black persons here, who stood by me through the war, can contradict. Go to work, be industrious, live honestly and act truly, and when you are oppressed I'll come to your relief. I thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for this opportunity you have afforded me to be with you, and to assure you that I am with you in heart and in hand." (Prolonged applause.)

Link: http://www.nathanbedfordforrest.net/

Also, as to Fort Pillow, it must be remember that Forrest has some 600 blacks (armed and uniformed) riding with him at the time of his surrender. The Confederates who took the Fort were upset because of what they saw as needless casualties they took. (The out come was inevitable, the Yanks should have been polite and surrendered). Anyhow, through out history, attackers who have taken a fort or city often go into "over kill" mode. From reading the few accounts written by Confederate involved, this seems to be the case. Was it wrong, of course, but the racial aspect was far more overblown by the North after the war. Actually, General Lee's troops at the Battle of the Crater were far more "racist" then the Confederates at Pillow, as there can be no mistaking Lee's troop's cries of "kill the n****r take the white man" when the Rebs had hundreds of Yanks trapped in a huge crater during the battle.

Now I am not saying the Wizard of the Saddle was a saint, but I get tired of the NAACP rewriting history to fit their own modern day political views. The NAACP has done more to harm the integration of the races and the progress of Blacks then Forrest ever could-or would.

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We sleep soundly in our beds because rough men stand ready in the night to visit violence on those who would do us harm

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