J.D.R. Hawkins

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

Archive for the tag “Ku Klux Klan”

The War against the Flag Rages On (But You Can Win!)

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Since I posted on my blog last week, numerous developments have occurred in regard to the desecration of the Confederate battle flag. Not only have several big box stores vowed to discontinue sales, but Apple has taken down some of their games as well. Since then, sales of the Confederate battle flag have doubled. TV Land has stopped showing The Dukes of Hazzard, and rumor has it that Facebook will not allow postings of the Confederate battle flag (we’ll see if this gets posted).

NASCAR C.E.O. Brian France said that the flag is an “offensive and divisive symbol.” However, he somewhat changed his stance. Instead of banning the flag from races, he has offered a flag exchange, and is asking that spectators fly the Stars and Stripes instead of the Confederate battle flag this weekend in honor of Independence Day.

Ft. Sumpter has furled its Confederate battle flags, and all Confederate flags are being removed from the entrance to Stone Mountain. Some nut is even circulating a petition to have Stone Mountain blown up.

Baltimore’s mayor and city council have taken up a proposal to remove three Confederate monuments in the city. And Memphis Mayor A.C. Wharton wants something even worse. He has announced a proposal to have the bodies of General Nathan Bedford Forrest and his wife exhumed from Forrest Park (recently renamed Health Sciences Park by Wharton and the city council), and moved to Elmwood Cemetery. He would also like for the statue of General Forrest to be removed from the park. There is no word as to where the city would move it, or if they plan on moving the body of General Forrest’s grandson, who is also buried at the park. Absurdity reigns.

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The Ku Klux Klan has stated that they will march in South Carolina later this month to protest the removal of the Confederate battle flag. In my opinion, this is derogatory to the cause. Because of them and their racist views, the Confederate battle flag has been associated with them. However, most of us know this is not the case.

It’s bad representation like this that gives fuel to the fire of anti-Confederate nonsense. In a recent poll taken by USA TODAY/Suffolk University, the country is split on whether or not to do away with the flag. According to the poll, 42% believe it represents Southern history and heritage, while 42% believe the flag is racist and should be removed. More than half of whites who were polled believe the assault in South Carolina was an isolated incident committed by one lone gunman, and one-third say “it reflects a larger problem of racism in America.” However, among African Americans, three out of four say the battle flag reflects racism.

I would say that hypersensitivity is part of the problem. Why is it that three-fourths of blacks view the flag as racist? I’m sure part of the reason is because of the way the flag, and white Southerners in general, are portrayed by the media. Here in Sioux Falls, a local television station broadcast this story:

“A Sioux Falls couple feuding with their neighbors is flying the Confederate flag, hoping to offend people they don’t like who live close by. What would you think if this was your neighbor?”

Really? I find the wording to be offensive and misleading. We don’t know what their feud is about, or if there even is a feud. Is that really why they are flying the flag, or are they just proud to be from the South? Who knows, but in this case, it’s bad reporting. The cartoon below, which recently appeared in the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, is also very offensive. Associating the Confederate battle flag with ISIS is horrendous, to say the least.

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So what happens now? Will the flag continue to vanish, whether we like it or not? Why don’t we get a say in the matter? Why haven’t these issues been put to a vote? And what will this lead to? Will all books with the flag on the cover, historical or otherwise, be banned? Will all movies be banned as well? Gone with the Wind is already under scrutiny, and you can forget about ever seeing The Birth of a Nation on TNT again.

A Beautiful Glittering Lie Cover Art   9780595908561

In honor of the Confederate battle flag and those who fought under it, I am running a contest throughout the month of July. Please send an email to jdrhawkins@gmail.com stating what the flag means to you, and you will be entered to win both of the first two books in the Renegade Series – A Beautiful Glittering Lie and A Beckoning Hellfire. It’s my intention to show the Confederate flag in a positive light and educate people about the Southern cause, so please help spread the word.

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Happy Birthday General Forrest

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Today marks the anniversary of one of the Civil War’s most influential and controversial commanders, Nathan Bedford Forrest. Born on July 13, 1821, Forrest rose to fame after enlisting as a private in the War Between the States. Because of his outstanding, strategical military mind, he advanced to general during the course of the war.

At the onset of the Civil War, Forrest was a wealthy planter, slave trader, and real estate investor. Although he had no formal education, he worked hard (his father died when he was 17, leaving him responsible for his family) and put his younger brothers through college. Becoming a Memphis millionaire, he paid for horses and equipment for a regiment of Tennessee volunteers. From there, he proved to be a military genius in several battles. He was quoted as saying he was the first with the most, and that he came out a horse ahead (he had 29 horses shot out from under him, but killed 28 men). Author Shelby Foote stated that there were only two geniuses in the Civil War: Abraham Lincoln, and Nathan Bedford Forrest.

At the massacre of Ft. Pillow, Forrest was accused of intentionally killing surrendered Union soldiers because they were black. He was later found innocent of the charges. After the war, it was rumored that he helped establish the KKK, but this has never been proven, and he denied it adamantly. In fact, a court hearing was held, led by Union General Sherman, to prove his guilt, but that never happened. General Forrest was only 56 years old when he died on October 29, 1877.

Originally buried in Elmwood Cemetery, his body was disinterred to Forrest Park in Memphis in 1904. Every year, a ceremony is held to honor this special man and significant Confederate leader, and this year is no exception. Members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and United Daughters of the Confederacy will be at the park today to pay special homage to this amazing man.

Mississippi State Flag Banned

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Last week, The Los Angeles Times ran a story about a group of attorneys, who announced that they are calling for the removal of the Mississippi state flag from the display at Santa Ana’s Civic Center in Orange County, California. They say that the flag with the “Confederate design symbolizes racism and hatred.” In a statement, the Newport Beach-based Orange County Bar Association remarked that the flag, featuring the Confederate Southern Cross, is a symbol “inextricably linked to a legacy of racism, exclusion, oppression and violence.”

The association passed a resolution to remove the flag from Santa Ana’s Plaza of the Flags, which now features flags from all fifty states. “I am proud of the board of directors for passing this important resolution on the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address,” Orange County Bar Association President Wayne Gross said in a statement. According to Gross, the Mississippi flag “has no place in or around courthouses.”

The association tried in 1997 to ban flags, specifically those of Mississippi and Georgia, but were unsuccessful. Since then, Georgia has changed its state flag. Mississippi is the only state left which features the Southern Cross in its design.

For Orange County to take such a step, whether they realize it or not, is discrimination. In 2001, the state of Mississippi voted to keep the design. In fact, two-thirds of the state’s residents chose to keep the Southern Cross. If it doesn’t offend Mississippi voters, who are primarily black, what is the problem with Orange County?

With so many problems surfacing in California over the past decade, why is this even an issue? Don’t they have more important things to worry about? This is similar to the problem that the City of Memphis has been dealing with over the past year. It seems that both cities need to get their priorities straight.

To me, this is yet another blatant example of ignorance on the part of lawmakers and politicians. If they studied their history, they would know that the Confederate flag DOES NOT represent “racism, hatred, exclusion, oppression, and violence.” The Confederate flag represents Southern heritage and pride. One hate group, the Ku Klux Klan, decided to claim the Confederate flag as their own, without permission from such honorable groups as the Sons of Confederate Veterans or the Military Order of the Stars and Bars. It is shameful to associate the KKK with the Confederacy as a whole. The KKK has also used the American flag, which flew over numerous slave ships. Should this, too, be banned?

There comes a point when political correctness has gone too far. This is just another example. If one state’s flag is denied, then various reasons will eventually surface to ban other state’s flags as well. We must not allow this kind of narrow-mindedness to prevail.

(And BTW Mr. Gross, the 150th Anniversary of the Gettysburg Address was last November.)

For more information, please visit:

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-mississippi-flag-orange-county-civic-center-20131231,0,6800466.story#axzz2pk6g4GWO

Here Comes the Klan

There is concern over the upcoming Ku Klux Klan rally, which is scheduled to take place this Saturday in Memphis. Many locals have expressed concern that it could lead to violence. Klan members are fulfilling the promise they made last month to hold a rally in protest against the name changes of Civil War themed Forrest Park, Confederate Park, and Jefferson Davis Park.

In contrast, a new group called “Memphis United” wants to openly address the issues of race and racism in the city, so it is hosting its own conference, the “People’s Conference on Race and Equality.” This grass roots effort sprang up on Facebook in response to the upcoming KKK rally.

“It’s easy to get mad and yell at somebody from across the street,” said Memphis United Organizer Brad Watkins. “But the next day, what’s really changed? We want to be looking at what’s moving forward in our city.”

The conference is scheduled to take place at the Memphis Fairgrounds Creative Arts Building, and will be held at the same time as the Klan rally. Their goal is to bring on a “real dialogue” about racism in the city. The conference will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. along with the “Heart of Memphis Peace Festival.”

The aim is to get people “in a community conversation about what it means to be racist, systematically, and all the environmental racism that’s going on in Memphis, and the sectioning off, and unconscious attitudes,” says University of Memphis student Kevin Newton. “We move forward and realize what we need to do is have people face the racism within themselves.”

It Takes a Committee

The Memphis City Council has finally taken positive steps to resolve the issue of renaming three Confederate themed parks. Yesterday, the Council appointed a seven member committee to look into the issue of renaming Confederate Park, Jefferson Davis Park, and Forrest Park, named after General Nathan Bedford Forrest. Channel 5 News reported that General Forrest was the “original” Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, which only adds to the misinformation that the City Council, and the community as a whole, is receiving.

One of the members of the new committee is Jimmy Ogle, who was the previous deputy parks director, and is currently the chairman of the Shelby County Historical Commission.

“I think we need to be objective about it,” said Ogle. “I think if we can give (City Council members) some solid information, and maybe dispel some of these myths or some of this misinformation out there, that would be helpful.”

Along with Ogle, other members of the committee include Councilmen Bill Boyd and Harold Collins, NAACP president Rev. Keith Norman, Memphis city parks official Larry Smith, and professors Michael Robinson and Dr. Douglas Cupples.

Councilman Bill Boyd was quoted as saying, “This is a good representative assembly of Memphians who are capable of providing a reasonable solution for recommendation to the Memphis City Council.” It is interesting that no women were chosen to serve on the committee, however.

“Things seem to be spiraling downward on this, rather than leveling off and taking a common sense approach to it,” said Ogle. Perhaps the committee can accomplish a positive outcome for everyone involved. Let’s hope so.

(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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