Society

Petition Started to Ban Monument to Founder of Ku Klux Klan, Nathan Bedford Forrest

| by Michael Allen

Malika Fortier with GrassrootsDemocracy.net has created a petition on Change.org to ask the Selma City Council in Selma, Alabama to ban KKK monuments.

Fortier is upset that the Friends of Forrest, a neo-Confederate group, is planning a renovation of a public monument to the founder of the Ku Klux Klan, Nathan Bedford Forrest, in the Live Oak Cemetery.

Earlier this year, the head was stolen from the Forrest statue, so the Friends of Forrest are planning to build a bigger monument while sprucing up the larger Confederate Memorial Circle.

Todd Kiscaden, with Friends of Forrest, told WSFA-TV: "I recommend this man to model his life after. He always led from the front.  He did what he said he was going to do.  He took care of his people, and his people included both races."

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However, Fortier notes that "Nathan Bedford Forrest was a Confederate military leader, a founding member of the KKK, and the first Grand Wizard of the KKK. He wasn't even from Selma, why should Selma be honoring his shameful legacy of racial segregation and terrorism?"

Fortier wants the Selma City Council to "remove the monument celebrating Ku Klux Klan founder Nathan Bedford Forrest" on her Change.org petition, which so far has 282,038 signatures:

Dear Selma City Council,

I am writing to strongly urge you to stop the current plans to expand a monument celebrating Nathan Bedford Forrest.

People know Selma, Alabama as the city where Dr. King fought for civil rights. Selma was the launching point for historical protests that hurtled the civil rights movement into the national spotlight. It is also a city of tragedy: thousands of students, religious leaders, and families fighting for civil rights in Selma were arrested, injured, or brutally killed.

It was shocking to learn that Selma would ever choose to celebrate the legacy of a Ku Klux Klan founder and Grand Wizard by allowing a monument to Nathan Bedford Forrest to stand on city property. For the council to allow this monument to be expanded would simply be beyond the pale.

If Selma wants be viewed by the rest of the country as forward-thinking, we cannot give in to those who pine for the "good ole days" of the 1860s. The Selma city council has no business allowing the the city's history and the memory of those who fought for civil rights to be smeared in this way. I demand that you stop the expansion of the Nathan Bedford Forrest monument and remove it from public property.