J.D.R. Hawkins

One bullet can make a man a hero… or a casualty.

(Grand) Wizard of the Saddle?

After hearing about the Memphis City Council’s ridiculous motion to rename several parks in the city, the Ku Klux Klan has decided to take action. According to the Grand Wizard, the KKK will congregate in Forrest Park every week until the name is reverted back to its original.

The controversy was sparked when Memphis City Council members decided to rename Forrest Park, which is named after famed Civil War Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest. The park is on the National Register of Historic Places, and General Forrest himself, along with his wife and grandson, are buried in the park. The new name for the park will tentatively be Health Sciences Park. The same goes for Confederate Park and Jefferson Davis Park, which are both located on the banks of the Mississippi River. Their new names will be Memphis Park and Mississippi River Park, respectively.

City Council members wanted to rename the park because they said General Forrest was a slave trader, and was a Grand Wizard of the KKK. So much for doing their research. Although he was a slave trader prior to the war, he set his slaves free during the war, and some of his freed slaves even fought under him. He went out of his way to keep families together. He was never a Grand Wizard of the KKK, and denied being a member in public documents. He didn’t instigate the slaughter at Ft. Pillow, either, but City Council members don’t know that because they don’t do their homework. In fact, Forrest was found innocent by a Grand Jury, and the court records are available to the public. Union General William T. Sherman, who despised Forrest, even admitted that Forrest did no wrong, and therefore, could not be persecuted.

Unfortunately, the KKK has decided to get involved, and vows to stage a rally in Forrest Park every week beginning in April or May. This writer is dead-set against it, because it will only create more racial tension. The last time the Klan was in Memphis, numerous riots broke out. I’ll bet that, if General Forrest was alive to see it, he would be deeply saddened.

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3 thoughts on “(Grand) Wizard of the Saddle?

  1. Great Scott this will be bad. It’s sad that general forest’s memory is so tarnished by such a radically absurd cult such as the kkk. It’s also sad that people often believe what supports their views as opposed to researching the truth such as the city council and the kkk are both doing.

  2. Betty Joyce Willis on said:

    I thought if it was on the National Registar that it could not be tampered with? Did the Klan do their homework, are they doing this because they also believe Forrest was a Grand Wizard? I have had just about enough of racial this and that. Maybe we need to get together and protest the playing of Roots every year. Was not not a novel made into a movie? I don’t know much about it, I didn’t read the book nor watch the movie. This is the very thing that keeps the racial ignorance stirred up. But then again ignorance does not want to know the truth. And further more if I may add to the ignorance of people and who they are concerning their nationality. A true Afro-American is some one that has moved to America from Africa, where they were born, and became an American. If you are born here then you are an American.

    So what should I call myself? My maiden name is French however the family had moved and lived in England. The very first of my name sake was a layman who came to America for freedom of relegion without persacution. Then on down the line of this family we pick up Scotch/English and later a Cheriokee American Indian. On my mothers side we start with English and then add Scottish, and Cree American Indian and Irish. (Which all have been researched). So then what does that make me? A mutt? I am and proud to call myself a Mutt-American. However since everyone in my family on both sides have been born in this country since about 1720 (give or take a few years) that makes us Americans and proud to be. When my ancestors came to America that is what they immediately started calling themselves. They worked the land, they worked hard and were proud to be an American and they fought for what they believed was right in the sight if God. It use to be that when people came here they had to learn and do certain procedures to become American Citizens. When they did they were proud and told their children to learn the English Language and speak it. What has happened? Now we have foreigners coming to live here because they can’t stand their own country and they hate Americans. Well hella bells don’t come, we never asked you to. And now we have born Americans that can’t even call themselves that without adding where maybe their ancestor came from well over 200 years ago. Why can’t they be referred to as just Americans?

    Maybe just maybe, if people would do some actual study on their family history and then on American history, maybe some of this crap would stop. (Notice I said some). To even want to re-write the history books just to suit their ignorance is dangerous. We learn from our past. Good or bad we need to know the truth to make sure we don’t repeat it. To take one part and ignore another part is what a fool does. If we read the Bible and only pick out what we want and like is putting us in danger and right in the devils lap. As for me and my family we will serve The Lord with truth, we will serve our Country with pride and we will honor our Southern Heritage with pride, honor and in undying remembrance.

  3. Darrell Criswell on said:

    Your history on Forrest, just isn’t correct. Forrest certainly did in some fashion instigate the incident at Fort Pillow (“draw no quarter”), was commander of the forces committing the atrocity and probably participated in it although he terminated it also when he thought it got out of hand. He certainly played a big role in the KKK, although its primary purpose when he was involved was to overthrow the governor of TN, tried to disband it when he couldn’t get sufficient forces to defeat Brownlow. Some of his statements about the KKK were that in congressional testimony he told people he “acted like a gentleman…lied” when he denied his Klan involvment. The evidence is he wasn’t a very benevolent slave trader and was brutal to slaves, although he didn’t always break up families although this may have been an economic decision at the time. Failure of the grand jury to indict him for murder was probably jury nullification…he was complicit in a number of murders, some by himself and some by his troops (John Davis at Trenton TN is one example). I am not a Forrest historian but have read the excellent books about him, one a biography by Jack Hurst, and another The River Runs Red about Fort Pillow.

    He was an interesting individual and does seem to have renounced his racist beliefs at the end of his life and made statements to this effect in public, which is certainly commendable. However his life is not one anyone should honor or look up to, study yes…like all of us he was a mixture of good and bad, but primarily bad.

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