Friday, March 4, 2011

Sons of Confederate Veterans, Nathan Bedford Forrest, and the Mississippi License Plate

Greetings Cosmic Americans!

Well, the SCV is at it again. This time, as part of the nation-wide (and indeed, international) effort to commemorate the Civil War sesquicentennial, The SCV has proposed a Nathan Bedford Forrest commemorative license plate for the state of Mississippi (or...if you live in Mississippi - a commemorative "tag").

Now we all know about good ole Nathan Bedford Forrest. Prewar slave trader, Confederate commander behind the infamous Fort Pillow massacre of black Union soldiers, postwar Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, and the man who novelist Shelby Foote once called one of the two true geniuses of the Civil War (a distinction shared, according to Foote, with Abraham Lincoln - oy gevalt).

Now the SCV officially denounces all hate groups who use Confederate imagery to promote racism. Fine - but their choice of Forrest as a man worthy of accolades? I am not sure I see how they can get around the whole racist thing on this one. I mean....Forrest????? He was the head of the KKK for goodness's sake! What the hell??

For those of you who are a little irritated (or rather, greatly offended) that Forrest might actually find his way to a Mississippi plate, you may be able to relax a little. When asked to comment on the proposal, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour, a Republican, told the Associated Press, "It won't become law because I won't sign it."

So it seems that Mississippi's elected officials have come a long way since the last big Civil War celebration, the centennial between 1960 and 1965. We all know what that state was like in the early 1960s, right? Not such a good place to be raising a fuss about keeping a white "hero" out of sight.

These days the SCV are struggling to keep race and images of slavery out of the commemorative scene and away from the press. They may be struggling in vain - even in Mississippi. Despite their greatest efforts, SCV members may just have to admit that race played a crucial role in the war - and that although they promote "heritage not hate," their cause (with Nathan Bedford Forrest 100% on board) was intricately connected to preserving racial slavery.



PS - thanks to Chris Hall for reminding me about this one!


  1. Keith and Chris,

    You may want to check out...or connect with...reporter Dan Dewitt, assigned-against-his-will, to the St. Petersburg Times bureau in Brooksville, Florida [Hernando Today]...A Buckeye, he closely follows [with contempt], the goings-on of re-enactors and SCV members. errr..DON'T tell him I sent you.... lol. Yes, of course, there's a backstory, silly ;D Have filed the Mississippeans' story away in the 'what are they thinking' folder.

  2. Funny, now that gov barbour has annouced hes not running for president we are indeed gettting the tag. announced at my scv meeting last night. Do u all ever tell the truth? Forrest did indeed attack fort pillow after the union soldiers refused to surrender, the black union soldiers fought valantly almost to the last man. U used long ago disproved info. This has been disproven by both northern an southern reaserchers. forest was sent there by lee, because of extreme acts of cruilty by these soldiers on southern citizens. Forrest was indeed in the klan which was started because of the evils of reconstruction by the invading new world order army. But the fact u left out is that he also dismantled the klan because of some members illegal an immoral crimes against blacks. govenor barbour himself is a member of the scv. an me an the scv will leave the light on for eternity for these half truths an lies! why would u choose to say that the black union soldiers were massacered when they refused to surrender an fought to the last man? do you think there were no rebel armys almost wiped clean? come to ms an see my forrrest scv tag next year! do some reaserch next time u print a half truth

  3. evils of reconstruction and "invading new world order army" not that has to be the dumbest thing that I have ever heard.