Monument to Civil War General, Ku Klux Klan Leader Triggers Controversy
The renovation of a monument honoring a Civil War Confederate general, who was the first “Grand Wizard” of the Ku Klux Klan, is once more creating controversy in Selma, Ala., 11 years after protesters got it moved off of public property.
The memorial is being repaired after the bust of Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest was stolen in March from the 7-foot-tall granite monument it rested upon at a cemetery in Selma, reported The Birmingham News. A group known as the Friends of Forrest are replacing it, according to local media; and the United Daughters of the Confederacy are adding a pedestal and fencing to make it harder to steal, Selma City Council President Dr. Cecil Williamson told NBC News.
“I would recommend this man (Forrest) for any young people to model his life after,” Todd Kiscaden, of Friends of Forrest, told local NBC affiliate WSFA 12 News. “The man always led from the front. He did what he said he was going to do. He took care of his people, and his people included both races.”
Not everyone remembers the general that way.
Though Forrest was one of the Confederacy’s better generals and their best cavalry leader, he was an “extreme racist,” Mark Pitcavage, an expert of military history and right-wing extremism at the Anti-Defamation League, told NBC News.