The "Kill the Confederacy 150 years after it died" movement may yet claim another victim; Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest. At first glance
it seems like a no-brainer I mean the dude was a slave trader before the war, was accused of massacring Black soldiers at Fort Pillow who were
attempting to surrender and was the first leader of the Ku Klux Klan
. The guy was uber-racist, right? Wrong. One simple fact will refute that
idea - namely that when Forrest died he had even more Black mourners than White with some figures as high as 5,000 Blacks alone. Now WHY on God's
green Earth would that many Black people bother to join a funeral procession for a man that hated them? Because it's obvious he didn't hate anyone.
After the war Forrest had a conversion to Christianity that was authentic. He had seen enough of war to understand peace and enough of division to
understand conciliation. Forrest owned a railroad after the war and he employed Blacks as engineers and other good paying jobs. He made speeches to
his fellow Whites stumping for voting rights for Blacks. The personal slaves he had before the war stayed on with him, sharing his home and caring for
him as his health deteriorated. He used his fame and popularity gained during the war to help Black people find their place in American society. He
should be hailed as a hero of civil rights, not demonized.
The story of Forrest is amazing. No braver man ever fought and he is recognized as a genuine military genius, perhaps the greatest ever produced in
America. He was born dirt poor to a large family who lost their father when he was a young teen. Being the oldest male Forrest took over duties as man
of the house and through trading slaves and horses became a millionaire by the time he was 30. When the war came he volunteered and spent his fortune
to equip his fellow cavalry.
Forrest was always in the thick of the fighting, killing 33 men in personal combat. He was wounded badly several times and once stabbed by a fellow
soldier he pulled the knife out of himself, chased the man down and stabbed him to death with it. He was no man to mess with.
While proficient at killing he went ballistic when anyone mistreated a horse or animal. As a slave trader he was known to keep families together,
refusing the sell them separately even splitting from his business partner over the issue. He was reputed to have never mistreated a slave.
When the South surrendered the speech Forrest gave his troops is really quite moving and extraordinary in the tone of his pleading to go back to their
farms and businesses and start over as Americans again. The Confederacy had lost, that was over and it was time to move on. "obey the laws and be good
citizens as you have been good soldiers".
Due to space I'll leave the KKK and Ft Pillow parts for you to research for yourself. Just understand that he was a man with honor who would never
allow the massacre of surrendering troops nor would condone violence against Blacks by the KKK. He was a man of his time, growing up in a world where
slavery was normal and he took advantage of it to work his family out of poverty. When his state was being attacked he answered the call to defend it
as so many men did. Forrest stands for many things: Military genius, restoring national unity after the war, civil rights leader, non-discriminatory
business owner, Christian.
I pray these people learn who's grave it is they are trying to disturb and realize the error of their initial reaction.
May Forrest and his wife rest in peace and his place in American history returned to its rightful position.
He was a great Confederate and a great American.
The 2 were never mutually exclusive.
edit on 27-6-2015 by Asktheanimals because: (no reason given)