Actually, there's some historical evidence that Nathan Bedford Forrest renounced a lot of his racist beliefs; he gave a couple of speeches to black organizations near the end of his life about reconciliation. Yes there is such evidence, and from credible sources, like the New York Times.The statue of Forrest is not a commemmoration of his Klan activities; it reconizes that he was a master of battle strategy which had a major effect on various battles. No. It is commemoration of a slave trader who was a brilliant military commander in the unlawful war to destroy the United States, and under whose command occurred a massacre of black union soldiers at Fort Pillow. Even if the motives in 1904 were pure, as Jim Crow took solid control for another half century or more, it was inappropriate at best.And the statue, unfortunately, is still standing. Just the name of the park has been changed.Like a lot of people through the years, Forrest probably had his good characteristics and bad; it seems to me like a better discussion, and a better understanding of history (and making sure we aren't doomed to repeat it) happens when we acknowledge the wholeness of history, not just the parts we like and don't like. The whitewash is that Forrest was worthy of a monument despite his rebellion against his country and his command of the Fort Pillow massacre. To acknowledge his brilliance on the battlefield and in military strategy is one thing; to raise statues, name parks and schools, is quite another.
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