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Nathan Forrests Monument Tribute to Selmas Defender or Wizard of Ku Klux Klan - Essay Example

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Nathan Bedford Forrest: a racist, a ruthless slaughterer, or an American hero? People of Selma, Alabama remain divided in opinion as to if a monument commemorating a Civil War Hero or the leader of Ku Klux Klan should be built. …
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Nathan Forrests Monument Tribute to Selmas Defender or Wizard of Ku Klux Klan
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Nathan Forrests Monument Tribute to Selmas Defender or Wizard of Ku Klux Klan

Nathan Forrest’s Monument – Tribute to Selma’s Defender or Wizard of Ku Klux Klan

In my perspective, laws of justice and humanity conflict with dedicating a monument to a man whose name epitomizes America’s tragic history of racial prejudice and bloodshed. In order to comprehend this controversy, it is imperative to analyze the myriad of aspects surrounding it, such as first amendment, American history, political drama, and society’s reactions. The issue is that the Forrest Monument has always stirred drastically conflicting sentimental reactions amongst Americans. During the civil war, Nathan Bedford Forrest rose from a private soldier to the rank of lieutenant general in the Confederate Army. He was acclaimed for being a self-educated, valiant, and brilliant cavalry leader. Prior to the war, Forrest was an affluent planter, real estate backer, and slave trader. Despite lacking military education, Forrest rose to high ranks due to his innate strategic and tactical abilities. He pioneered novel policies for mobile forces, which earned him the title of “The Wizard of the Saddle” (United Daughters of Confederacy 90). For some Forrest is a brilliant Civil War hero and quintessence of bravery and decisiveness. Todd Kiscaden, a friend and advocate of Forrest monument stated, “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 (Allen).”...
An extract from the letter of a confederate soldier, Achilles Clark, verifies these facts as he wrote that the slaughter was awful. He, with several others, tried to stop the brutalities of war and partially succeeded, but General Forrest ordered blacks to be shot down like dogs, and the carnage continued. Although some historians have glossed over his devious, inhumane crimes against negroes, the fact is that Forrest was not cruel, racially prejudiced slave dealer (Loewen and Sebesta 280). Likewise, Forrest is also infamous for being the Grand Wizard of Ku Klux Klan, a clandestine vigilante group that conducted a terrifying reign against African-Americans, Republicans and people who moved to south after the war (Ashdown and Caudill 39). Therefore, constructing his monument is “boldly racist” as Malika Fortier, a leading opponent in this struggle, quotes. In spite of the afore-mentioned facts, there are legal hindrances in preventing further work on the Forrest statue. The most imperative lingering question is that of land ownership. Proponents of the statue contend that the local authorities of Selma awarded the United Daughters of the Confederacy an acre of cemetery in 1877. As opposed to this, protestors argue that no legal documents exist to evidence the transfer of ownership to the United Daughters of the Confederacy (Brown 13). Although the question of land ownership is for now the most crucial, it constitutes only the basic queries and legal consequences that shall ensue. For instance, if the land were deemed as private property, passersby would not be aware that this cemetery contains Confederate Circle. In plain terms, the cemetery might be construed as public property even if it is ... Read More
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