Defaming the General
Here is another example of how political correctness has gone awry in the South. Just FYI, Nathan Bedford Forrest was a slave trader in Memphis. He was a product of his time. Slavery was legal, and he always treated his slaves humanely and with respect. He never tore families apart. In fact, his slaves loved him so much that they fought for him as members of his “Special Forces.” Closemindedness and lack of education have created the current wave of what I refer to as “fear of the past.”
In 1955 a historical marker was placed near the site of Nathan Bedford Forrest’s early home. The 60-word marker highlights Forrest’s early life, noting his Mississippi childhood and terms as an aldermen in Nashville.
It has been removed and a new marker will replace it. Scheduled to be unveiled April 4, the new marker will consist of 462-words devoted almost entirely to demonizing the General as a “slave trader.” The new marker will also include other information about the Memphis slave trade, noting that Forrest was one of eight slave traders in the city.
The text of the new marker was written by Rhode’s College students and approved by the National Park Service and professors at the University of Memphis.
“The National Park Service is pleased to provide funding from the Lower Mississippi Delta fund for this project,” said Timothy Good, the superintendent at Missouri’s Ulysses S. Grant National Historic site who helped approve the text. “The resulting interpretive marker will encourage heritage tourism to Memphis and will also educate Americans about Memphis’ nationally significant history.”
(Courtesy Dixie Heritage Newsletter, March 9, 2018 ed.)
I hope those eager to dishonor the General will one day be remembered for the least of their actions, of which this is chief. Further, may their remains be disinterred to be scattered in the harsh winds of memory. The General’s image has a prominent place in my Chicago office. I pity the one who attempts to move it, disparage it, or otherwise to shadow it with disrespect.
I always found Forrest to be an interesting character, but after living outside of Memphis, I learned a lot more about him that most people don’t know or don’t bother to learn. He did more for racial reform after the Civil War than anyone else did in his time, and yet, he gets no credit for it. The north tried to stir up false accusations about him, but after taking issues like Ft. Pillow to court, Forrest was always found not guilty. It was the northern press trying to slur his name. It’s sad that some of the old rumors still hang over his name, and that ignorants have taken it upon themselves to change the true historical story.