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Memorial Monument For KKK Grand Wizard Planned In Alabama, Activists Petition Against It

By Niki Gatewood   /   Published 08/24/12

In Selma, Alabama, a monument to the first leader of the Ku Klux Klan is under construction on public land.

The statue of Confederate General Nathan Forrest -- infamous for being the first Grand Wizard of the Klan and for massacring black Union soldiers at the Civil War battle of Fort Pillow -- even has the blessing of the Selma City Council.

Selma is home to some of the most important events of the Civil Rights Movement -- including "Bloody Sunday," a date in 1965 where 600 activists, fighting for African-American voting rights, were attacked by state and local police.

Unless the city council stops it, a "bigger and better than ever" monument will be constructed to honor Nathan Bedford Forrest.

Malika Sanders-Fortier, a community leader in Selma who has launched a petition against the monument, says she was outraged upon hearing the news. A proud resident, familiar with the city's place in history, she thinks that monument celebrates violent racism, intolerance and has no place there.

"I grew up in Selma. Now, as a community organizer, I think often about the sacrifices of the people who lived here before me," Malika attests. "I was outraged and ashamed to learn that Selma's city council is sitting idly by as a local neo-Confederate group expands a public monument to a founder of the Ku Klux Klan, Nathan Bedford Forrest.

She continues, "Monuments celebrating violent racism and intolerance have no place in this country, let alone in a city like Selma, where the families of those attacked by the Klan still live."

A group called Friends of Forrest, who built the original monument, and is planning to add to it, laying concrete for a new foundation, adding a new bust of the KKK founder, enclose the monument in a wrought iron gate, and add night lighting.

"The Friends of Forrest, a Confederate organization, co-founded by Cecil Williamson and Patricia Godwin, are behind the building of the monument.  "[Friends of Forrest] have been raising money for years for a permanent monument to Forrest by selling a packet of information that was originally published by the KKK right after the 1965 Selma to Montgomery March.  They call the packet, Truth Uncensored; it attacks the Voting Rights Movement," the organization says on their website.

Hank Sanders, an Alabama State Senator representing Selma County, is challenging the building of a Monument to General Nathan Bedford Forrest, pointing to the negative's historic general's past.

"Nathan Bedford Forrest was one of the richest slave dealers in the South," said Sanders. "Under General Nathan Bedford Forrest’s leadership, Black soldiers who had surrendered were murdered in cold blood at Fort Pillow, Tennessee during the Civil War.  After the Civil War, General Nathan Bedford Forrest took leadership of the Klan, becoming its first Grand Wizard, and built it into a national force that terrorized Black people across this country for decades.  There is already a monument to Forrest at Live Oak Cemetery.  We do not need a bigger monument of Forrest in Selma, the symbol for voting rights and freedom all over the world."

For those of you who also don't agree with Forrest being forever immortalized in stone, visit Malika's petition at Change.org.

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  • xtrodinare

    Oh hell to the no. I can't believe this and people down in Selma, AL are allowing this to happen. God please help us.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kevin.deeganhall Kevin Deegan-Hall

    We will stop this NO PASARAN TO RACISTS OR FASCISTS

  • Erik Hayes

    I don't see anything wrong with them building a "Bigger and Better" monument.

  • Gabby

    Just shoot it-with a shot gun.to make the point No-Means No-

  • blackKKK

    all crackers and kkks cant suck a fat black aids filled dick and they dead mamas

  • Susan

    Sad...

  • Supporter

    It's just history.. Get over it and leave them alone

  • Supporter

    You my friend are the racist one here

  • Coal city outlaw

    hey if you dont like this and your from ALABAMA you can GTFO because this is a symbol of gratitude to my ancestors LONG LIVE THE CONFEDERACY! WHITE POWER! AMEN!

  • Zeptometer

    Yeah, its not the "bigger and better" part, it's the part about it already existing that really gets me.

  • Johnnie Parker

    Get your facts straight, please. Forrest was not the founder of the kkk and it has never been proven that he held high office in that ungodly organization! The founders of the klan (no caps ever) were: Captains John C. Lester, John B. Kennedy, and James R. Crowe, along with Frank O. McCord, Richard R. Reed and J. Calvin Jones. Their first meeting took place in the law offices of Judge Thomas M. Jones..... all were from Pulaski, TN. Forrest was in Mississippi at the time and later said that he knew nothing of the founding of such an organization. He did call for the disbandment to the klan approx. five years later in an article he had published in a TN. newspaper. This article was reprinted in other papers through out the South. He did this because he felt the actions of the klan had become too violent and bloody. To those of you who want to bash this man, I would suggest you learn about who he really was by reading about him. Might I suggest, "Nathan Bedford Forrest, a biography," by Jack Hurst. It is the most honest and straightforward book I have read on the man and I have read them all. As for the citizens of Selma, perhaps someone should tell you that some of them, one a city council member, have dumped garbage on this monument, tried to pull it down with a steel cable which was attached to a truck, scrawled graffiti on it and most recently someone stole the bust from atop the monument as it stood in the Confederate section of the cemetery which was thought to be owned by the United Daughters of the Confederacy...... it was not public land. This has come under dispute as has every thing else concerning this monument. Please make an effort to learn the truth of the matter.