[Guest post by Aaron Worthing; if you have tips, please send them here.]Of course that becomes a little more understandable (but not excusable) when you learn the man was also Confederate Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest. From CNS News:
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.”
Well, it beats “The War of Northern Aggression” I suppose.
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.
Um, actually he founded the KKK as its first Grand Dragon.
Of course no one doubts the martial skill of Gen. Forrest. But if martial skill was all that mattered, then I suppose soon they will have license plates commemorating Gen. Erwin Rommell and Admiral Karl Dönitz, right?
And consider, for example, what Forrest did before founding the KKK. You might recall that when black soldiers began to be used by North, the South declared that they would treat them as revolting slaves. So when Ft. Pillow, defended in part by black soldiers, surrendered to Southern forces, they gave them no quarter. The Encyclopedia Britannica notes that
In what proved the ugliest racial incident of the war, Confederate forces under General Nathan B. Forrest captured Fort Pillow on April 12, 1864, and proceeded to kill all the black troops within; some were burned or buried alive. A Federal congressional investigating committee subsequently verified that more than 300 blacks, including women and children, had been slain after the fort surrendered.
Also, from General U.S. Grant’s autobiography:
While these preparations were going on the enemy was not entirely idle. In the West Forrest made a raid in West Tennessee up to the northern border, capturing the garrison of four or five hundred men at Union City, and followed it up by an attack on Paducah, Kentucky, on the banks of the Ohio. While he was able to enter the city he failed to capture the forts or any part of the garrison. On the first intelligence of Forrest’s raid I telegraphed Sherman to send all his cavalry against him, and not to let him get out of the trap he had put himself into. Sherman had anticipated me by sending troops against him before he got my order.
Forrest, however, fell back rapidly, and attacked the troops at Fort Pillow, a station for the protection of the navigation of the Mississippi River. The garrison consisted of a regiment of colored troops, infantry, and a detachment of Tennessee cavalry. These troops fought bravely, but were overpowered. I will leave Forrest in his dispatches to tell what he did with them.
“The river was dyed,” he says, “with the blood of the slaughtered for two hundred yards. The approximate loss was upward of five hundred killed, but few of the officers escaping. My loss was about twenty killed. It is hoped that these facts will demonstrate to the Northern people that negro soldiers cannot cope with Southerners.” Subsequently Forrest made a report in which he left out the part which shocks humanity to read.
And I have mentioned before that after the Civil War, black people were granted an equal right to vote across the South, and gaining political office. The extreme example was South Carolina, where black people made two-thirds of the population and voters. They elected the nation’s first black Lt. Governor. Meanwhile, in Tennessee, where half the population and half the voters were black, they chose the first black man to be a U.S. Senator. But by 1880, the office holders in the South were exclusively white, and were made up of racists who considered black people to be rightfully slaves. How did this happen? Because of Forrest and the campaign of terrorism waged by his Ku Klux Klan and similar organizations. What they did was nothing less than the overthrow of democracy in the South.
So he was a war criminal, terrorist and destroyer of democracy, fighting dishonorably in an evil cause. He does not deserve this honor.
If anyone should be remembered, it should be those who were slaughtered:
Of course, WTF stands for “Win the Future.”
[Posted and authored by Aaron Worthing.]