This is a reposting of my weekly Da Tech Guy column: Confederate Flag Shark Jumping: Digging Up Corpses In Tennessee
By A.P. Dillon
Ignorance of history is alive and well in America. With no end in sight, the outrage industry has jumped the shark nationwide over the Confederate flag.
The rest of the country isn’t fairing much better as D.C. residents called for the removal of the Jefferson Memorial and Confederate memorials continue to be vandalized despite some of them being place to honor students who died during the Civil War.
In response to the continued controversy over the Confederate flag, officials in the state of Tennessee have decided to dig up the corpses of Nathan Bedford Forest and his wife. The same officials have decided to also sell off the associated statue.
Officials in Tennessee seem to be ignoring their own law and either don’t know the full history behind Forest, or they are willfully ignoring it for the likely purpose of scoring political points.
While Nathan Bedford Forest has been widely associated with the KKK, officials in Tennessee seem to be ignoring his rapid departure from the group.
This piece at PBS might help to enlighten them:
After only a year as Grand Wizard, in January 1869, faced with an ungovernable membership employing methods that seemed increasingly counterproductive, Forrest issued KKK General Order Number One: “It is therefore ordered and decreed, that the masks and costumes of this Order be entirely abolished and destroyed.” By the end of his life, Forrest’s racial attitudes would evolve — in 1875, he advocated for the admission of blacks into law school — and he lived to fully renounce his involvement with the all-but-vanished Klan. A new, different, and much worse Klan would emerge, 35 years after Forrest’s death, in the wake of D.W. Griffith’s revolutionary 1915 film, Birth of a Nation, a reactionary screed with a racialist brief that had been expanded to include Catholics and immigrants of all kinds. The second Klan was never restricted to the South; its goals had nothing to do with Forrest’s vision of a restored Dixie.
You read that correctly. Forest became an advocate for blacks.
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. 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.
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.
But all of this is now a moot point, as Tennessee has engaged in revisionist history in a most ghoulish manner.
As Bedford said himself in 1875, so it rings true in 2015, “Many things have been said about me which are wrong,”.
A.P. Dillon resides in the Triangle area of North Carolina and is the founder of LadyLiberty1885.com.
Her current and past writing can also be found at IJ Review, StopCommonCoreNC.org, Heartland.org and Watchdog Wire NC.
Catch her on Twitter: @LadyLiberty1885