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Nathan Bedford Forrest bust to be removed from Tennessee Capitol after final vote

Nathan Bedford Forrest bust to be removed from Tennessee Capitol after final vote

Whimsical_Mara

I love this story from my racist little hometown. Once upon a time, there was a street in my hometown called Nathan Bedford Forrest Road. The local theater teacher decided to petition to change it, but the city council pulled the whole "it's not racist, it's just history!"card and denied the name change. (This was back in the 90s BTW.) So the theater teacher had a think and offered a compromise. The name was really too long to fit on the sign, so why not rename it Forrest Road? Best of both worlds, still named after a racist, but less obviously so. After some back and forth, everyone agreed, partly because the city council was tired of the theater teacher in their face lol. So theater teacher, wanting to be helpful and mend fences (because good relationships are gold in small southern towns) offered to deal with all the name change paperwork and since no one else wanted the hassle, they let her do it. Now, obviously the city council double checked the paperwork to make sure she hadn't pulled a fast one, but apparently they never bothered to check a history book to see how to spell Forrest's last name. Which is how my little, racist hometown when from having Nathan Bedford Forrest Road to having a Forest Road. Most people who go by that road will never know.... And that's how it should be.


StarWreck92

That teacher is incredible.


Order66-Cody

>Which is how my little, racist hometown when from having Nathan Bedford Forrest Road to having a Forest Road. >Most people who go by that road will never know.... And that's how it should be. Goes to show how little racist people would actually notice


Sumthin-Sumthin44692

Yeah, I gotta agree. That doesn’t seem like the kind of mistake that history enthusiasts would make. Racists on the other hand…


SevenButSpelledOut

Are you saying racism relies on stupidity and ignorance? I don't believe it!


aimeela

They never notice nor do they really care. Remember that statue just taken down earlier this month that had counter protesters show up back when they were protesting to take it down? Well when they were celebrating at the site the day it was taken down who showed up? The people that it mattered to. Where were all the racists then? Oh idk probably home watching Fox News or whatever. Probably didn’t even know that was the day their precious statue that really had zero sentimental value to them was being gotten rid of.


hejlordagsgodis

I need this to be a mini series staring Laura Dern, stat.


TheGreatSalvador

Sorry, best we can do is Sandra Bullock.


Krishnath_Dragon

That's ok, Sandra is a good actress.


classifiedspam

Even better!


iGoalie

If I had to guess, I would guess Huntsville/north Alabama. That city is full of NASA PHDs surrounded by “good ol boys” The PHDs have a tendency to outsmart the good ol boys in subtle ways like this. Also HTown has a huge theater community… so my guess is Huntsville Alabama, the rocket city


thejayroh

A lot of those same NASA PhDs also grew up as nerds bullied by the same good ol' boys. To say there is an elephant in the room out there in Huntsville is an understatement.


Vandy1358

Good ol boys and German nazi spawn, literally.


blahful

Bama or Georgia?


No-Point-5296

Well told, insightful and a good example of perservence.


ponichols

Heart warming


GrandpasSabre

Its worth mentioning this speech from Nathan Bedford Forrest: >Ladies and Gentlemen I accept the flowers as a memento of reconciliation between the white and colored races of the southern states. I accept it more particularly as it comes from a colored lady, for if there is any one on God's earth who loves the ladies I believe it is myself. ( Immense applause and laughter.) I came here with the jeers of some white people, who think that I am doing wrong. I believe I can exert some influence, and do much to assist the people in strengthening fraternal relations, and shall do all in my power to elevate every man to depress none. (Applause.) I want to elevate you to take positions in law offices, in stores, on farms, and wherever you are capable of going. I have not said anything about politics today. I don't propose to say anything about politics. You have a right to elect whom you please; vote for the man you think best, and I think, when that is done, you and I are freemen. Do as you consider right and honest in electing men for office. I did not come here to make you a long speech, although invited to do so by you. I am not much of a speaker, and my business prevented me from preparing myself. I came to meet you as friends, and welcome you to the white people. I want you to come nearer to us. When I can serve you I will do so. We have but one flag, one country; let us stand together. We may differ in color, but not in sentiment. Many things have been said about me which are wrong, and which white and black persons here, who stood by me through the war, can contradict. Go to work, be industrious, live honestly and act truly, and when you are oppressed I'll come to your relief. I thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for this opportunity you have afforded me to be with you, and to assure you that I am with you in heart and in hand. Nathan Bedford Forrest was a traitor, a racist, and a slave owner, but he did have a change in heart and opinion later in life, turned against the KKK he helped create, and ended up being so well liked by the African American community in his later years that he was invited to speak to the Independent Order of Pole-Bearers Association, a Civil Rights group made up of former slaves which was the precursor to the NAACP. The way he is honored in the South isn't only disrespectful to our country, to our history, and to all of those he hurt and wronged throughout his life, but it is also disrespectful to the man he became later in life and who he was when he died. He was a fascinating figure in many respects, but does not deserve any statues. https://mscivilrightsproject.org/forrest/person-forrest/nathan-bedford-forrest/


jfoobar

>Nathan Bedford Forrest was a traitor, a racist, and a slave owner Not just a slave owner, a slave *trader*. He was a very wealthy man before the war even started, and he made much of his fortune as a slave trader in Memphis.


windigo3

Also, a war criminal. He carried out the fort pillow massacre where his men executed 300 or so black union troops who has surrendered


jfoobar

Yup, forgot about that. Truth be told, Forrest was a remarkable man and deserves to be studied in the history books. However, he is certainly not someone who should ever be celebrated or honored.


BriefausdemGeist

Sherman was also a war criminal under a modern definition - and even under the rules of war commonly accepted in the 1860s his tactics were less than honorable. Edit: you can keep downvoting or you can acknowledge that history’s heroes tend to be morally flawed. Erasing *any* “bad” part of history is an injustice to all future generations


AllTheKingsHorses

That's not even remotely true. The "atrocities" of Sherman are overstated by civil war era Karens who couldn't understand why they were suddenly thrust in the middle of war that was supposed to be hundreds of miles away.


BriefausdemGeist

**”War is cruelty. There is no use trying to reform it. The crueler it is, the sooner it will be over.”** > William T. Sherman, 1864, in speech to the mayor and council of Atlanta.


AllTheKingsHorses

And there are about a thousand super-heinous quotes I could direct you to for anyone who you revere, including the much celebrated RE Lee. Sherman was also right, and was doing something the South already had. Sherman also never captured and enslaved free men of color. Could you imagine anything worse than someone sallying over a state line and immediately transmogrifying you from citizen, to mere chattel merely because of the force of their guns and the color of your skin?


BriefausdemGeist

You seem to think I disagree with the tactics Sherman used.


MiasmaFate

Isn't that the uncomfortable rub? One could argue that he was a man of the times. I feel it's a hard pill to swallow for many people that there was a point when slavery was an acceptable social norm. I can't count the number of times I've heard fellow white people say, “If I were alive back then, I would have tried to stop slavery” or “I wouldn't have had slaves.” Bullshit, you wouldn't have done anything, and if you had the money back then, you would have gotten a slave. It's what our people (white people) were doing then. We have to accept our ugly parts. I feel like we delay progress, drag out healing, and reinforce racial tensions when we deny who we were in the past. So we have this guy that owned slaves, traded slaves, fought viciously to keep slaves. Loses then accepts it. He acknowledges that he lives in a new era and adapts to the new social norm, seemingly recognizing the reprehensible errors of the old norm. Should he be celebrated with statues and streets? Of course not. However, I would love it if the rebel flag-waving, capitol raiding, vote surprising, all live matter screaming, CTR denying, privilege having assholes of today took a page from his book and recognized they live in a new era and got with the fucking program.


AllTheKingsHorses

There were plenty of wealthy abolitionists. It's not as though being rich prevented you from having a conscience. It's simply that for all of recorded time, having a conscience has been an impediment to getting rich.


Yashabird

I googled how right you might be about the universality of pro-slavery sentiment (among whites) where slavery was legal… Notably, the abolitionist movement obviously didn’t spring out of nowhere and had been part of the national debate since the American Revolution, where the Quakers were a particularly notable force, and obviously many states outlawed slavery as soon as they became states. In the American South, many abolitionists were lynched or intimidated into northern exile after 1830, but “In 1827, there were 106 anti-slavery societies in the South, with an estimated 6625 members.” I take your point that a lot of people see their own morality as absolute but seem to have miraculous changes of heart when the social climate shifts (see Trump v. the evangelicals, perhaps), but a certain percentage of people will always have strong, cohesive belief systems that are resistant to corruption by social contagion (like for instance rationalizing a reconciliation between devout Christianity and slave trading). Some evidence, i believe, suggests that adherence to a cohesive moral code despite the prevailing social climate might be a relatively “autistic” trait. In the first version of a very famous psychological experiment, only 25% of people *always* chose the correct answer in a simple perceptual test when everyone else in the room pretended to see something different*. Those people are our heroes, and if you’re like most people, you probably think they’re jerks lol… * https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asch_conformity_experiments


GrandpasSabre

Reminds me of the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, where Finn grows up with slavery and, in his youthful ignorance, assumes that it must be moral and correct because that's how it is. And, about half way through the book, he comes to the realization that he is against slavery, and because slavery is a moral thing, he must be immoral and bad, but that's just how he's going to live his life from now on.


tmotytmoty

Yeah, quotes mean little in retrospect. "Changes of heart" after committing truly evil acts against humanity hold little value to the lives destroyed in the process.


thatssoright

Historians make note that he was the only person on either side of the war to rise through the ranks starting at Private and making it all the way up to Lieutenant General. That sounds great until you realize he skipped a whole lot of ranks when he decided he wasn't killing enough Yankees as an enlisted private and left the Army to raise and fund his own unit. When he did that he was straight up given the commission or Lt Colonel.


screech_owl_kachina

That alone should have been enough for the Union to not accept his surrender and to kill him on sight. Someone who rises through the ranks that fast in the army of an ethnostate is a dangerous person, and indeed with his forming the KKK that was indeed the case.


ColossusA1

I agree wholeheartedly with your final statement. We must allow even the worst humans to change. We must also look at history with full context. If someone has done something horrible, that can't be ignored. However, if that person changes and tries to make amends, and works towards positive change, that also can't be ignored. Nathan Bedford Forrest did horrible things during the first part of his life, but he also tried to make amends and counteract those actions later. He can't be wholly defined by either of those chapters of his life, and must be remembered by his life in it's entirety.


COKEWHITESOLES

Nah, if Hitler or Himmler lived turned around and became an advocate for Jewish rights then that means we’d have to appreciate that? Like some heart warming movie? Some acts you just don’t bounce back from. Maybe you killed a guy in your teens being caught up in gang life, maybe you were a petty thief, and now you want to turn people away from that life, that’s understandable. But wholesale murders and massacres of thousands can not be forgiven.


Anary8686

Here's an example to help your point. Hitler saved/protected the Jewish doctor who looked after his dying mother and the doctor's family. That doesn't change the fact that he killed over 6 million other Jews. Forrest started the KKK, the fact that he switched sides after the war doesn't make him a good person.


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benderlicious54

TIL Nathan Bedford Forrest was less racist than Eric Clapton.


Bradbury_Lives

What's the difference between a pound of cocaine and a toddler? Eric Clapton wouldn't let a pound of a cocaine fall off a balcony.


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CyLoboClone

Well you know he doesn’t belong in heaven.


desepticon

As I recall, he even petitioned the government to allow him to form a militia in order to, in his words, "exterminate" the KKK. Interesting guy.


Ramza_Claus

>it is also disrespectful to the man he became later in life and who he was when he died. How do honor this man without honoring the bad man he used to be?


monty_kurns

>How do honor this man without honoring the bad man he used to be? By teaching the full story in a history class rather than highlight the worst and ignoring the rest. Also by not putting up any statues, no matter what part you're trying to honor. Another example would be George Wallace, The Dixiecrat who campaigned for president on a strict segregation platform. After he was shot, paralyzed, and finished his term as governor of Alabama, he became a born again Christian. He ran for governor again in the 1980s on what was essentially an apology platform, admitting what he had done in the past was wrong, and appointed a record number of black people to state positions and was the first governor to appoint more than one black person to their cabinet. That doesn't undo all the bad stuff he supported when he was arguably at the peak of his power and influence, but I feel like you should at least bring up the fact if a person changed. It's kind of an important detail to leave out. If someone's a fan of a Forrest or a Wallace for the bad stuff but they were never taught that even they realized they were wrong, how do you expect more people to change for the better?


AllTheKingsHorses

"They did more harm than good, but we should at least give them props for only being an asshole when it mattered." That's you. That's what you sound like.


PDXPuma

Yeah that's not the NBF they're honoring.


CaliforniaGiraffe

He was a savvy opportunist who realized the Southern way of life would cede to the north/republicans if he didn’t sway the black vote. I wouldn’t give his “change of heart” too much credence.


todayilearned83

Kind of like record labels signing black artists once they realized they could make a lot of money off them. Same thing, opportunism.


House_of_Zbornak

One can’t make up for slave trading.


Dobermanpure

Doesn’t matter one lick. He was a fucking war criminal. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Fort_Pillow


crumpledcactus

General Grant, General Sherman, and General Sheridan were also war criminals. So was General Custer, George Washington, Andrew Jackson, etc. American history is a poplar fiction that's full of monsters.


Morbx

So someone says that “it doesn’t matter that Forrest had a ‘change of heart’ because he was a slave trader and war criminal,” and you say “other popular american figures are war criminals too”? I don’t see why that invalidates this as critique of Forrest. Yeah, a lot of people involved with the America military from that time are also war criminals (especially against indigenous populations). They also should be criticized.


crumpledcactus

I'm saying it's hypocritical to pick favorites, while hinting at nationalist sentiment, when the two are just different sides of the same coin.


TheRealCJ

So let's stop lionising all of those ancient fuckers.


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TheHiddenMessenger

I think his point was those same union soldiers also massacred indigenous people in other fights not related to the civil war. [President Grant stealing the black hills ](https://www.smithsonianmag.com/history/ulysses-grant-launched-illegal-war-plains-indians-180960787/) So I’m not saying we give this POS any honor because of a change of heart. But we also shouldn’t be honoring a bunch of other old American “heroes” either. There all scumbags


AllTheKingsHorses

It's okay to acknowledge that the north fought to preserve the union while the south fought to preserve slavery. One is arguably worse than they other. Nobody (that I know anyway) is trying to pretend that the north was full of woke millennials policing the use of the N word. The proximal cause of war, however, was slavery.


Dobermanpure

Maybe so, but those you named were not traitors to the nation and were not losers like Forrest, Lee, Hood,Bragg,Jackson,Picket. Custer was a fucking moron for the record.


crumpledcactus

Doesn't matter. They were all genocidal white supremists who commited war crimes. Washington was also a traitor.


clgoodson

Please give examples of Grant and Sherman’s war crimes.


crumpledcactus

Grant : - The burning of the shenadoah : he enacted a scortched earth policy in north western Virginia, destroying farms, grain storages, and livestock. - General Order No. 11 : the only Jewish expulsion order ever issued on the western hemisphere. He infamously called all jews traitors and cotton smugglers, profiting off of disloyalty to the nation and off the blood of soldiers. He expelled at least 50 families from their homes, before a confederate attack stalled his operation. He apologized years later during the presidential election because it benefited him. - Pickett's noose : in a display of shear neopotism, he got his college drinking buddy, General George Pickett, out of the handman's noose through favors. Pickett was trying to escape to Canada after ordering the execution of Union prisoners. Sherman : - The burning of Georgia. (It wasn't just Atlanta) Sherman enacted a scortched earth policy from northern Georgia, through Atlanta, to the coast, upwards to Raleigh, and eastward. This 600 mile patch targeted civilians. Reports of murder, rape, the burning of homes, the slaughter of livestock, looting were known to him. He feined ignorance. That's not including the Native genocide, or other Union war crimes (eg. Camp Douglas).


todayilearned83

Those aren't war crimes, that's destroying infrastructure and denying the enemy resources. The nepotism and anti-Semitic acts are wrong, but not war crimes.


simerlinn

This guy’s entire post history is filled with him defending the Confederacy and waving the Confederate Flag in the name of “Southern pride” (whatever that means). It’s better to just ignore him.


Low-Public-332

\>Scorched earth ​ \>Not a war crime ​ Can you see where you went wrong?


BoredDanishGuy

So for funsies, we'll pretend it even makes sense to talk about war crimes in this period. It doesn't but let's humour the idiots and racists. > The burning of the shenadoah : he enacted a scortched earth policy in north western Virginia, destroying farms, grain storages, and livestock. Not a war crime. It targeted vital infrastructure and prevented supply to the traitor army. It was also not considered uncommon at the time in warfare. >General Order No. 11 : the only Jewish expulsion order ever issued on the western hemisphere. He infamously called all jews traitors and cotton smugglers, profiting off of disloyalty to the nation and off the blood of soldiers. He expelled at least 50 families from their homes, before a confederate attack stalled his operation. He apologized years later during the presidential election because it benefited him. A fucking dumb thing to do but I'd love to know how it's a warcrime. Bring me the paragrafs buddy. >Pickett's noose : in a display of shear neopotism, he got his college drinking buddy, General George Pickett, out of the handman's noose through favors. Pickett was trying to escape to Canada after ordering the execution of Union prisoners. Again, detail to me how this is a war crime?


ImprobableRooster

Sherman did nothing wrong. In fact, he should have probably been harsher.


Er-Rashal

Wow, you really hate Native Americans, huh?


GuynemerUM

He was also a war criminal. Look up Fort Pillow.


Dyb-Sin

He also spent the last years of his life lying about ever having been in the KKK, despite having been a founding member and the original "grand wizard" (lmao). Clearly just an opportunist, and if he hadn't died hilariously of diabetes the year reconstruction ended, I'm sure he would have changed tunes again.


Buckets-of-Gold

A more cynical way of reading that speech is “you stay in your lane, we’ll stay in ours”. “And when you are oppressed I will come to you relief” says the guy who personally had a hand in violent KKK organization.


crumpledcactus

If there's any public depictions of Forrest, it should not be in a Confederate uniform. e should take down the statues of Lee, and Jackson (and Grant, Sherman, and Sheridan but that's another story) and replace them with better people, like General Pierre Beauregard, General James Longstreet, and General Cleburne. Generally, all known slave holders who did not make proper ammends should be removed, as well as CS politicians. The statues of enlisted soldiers should remain, as they were mostly victims of class exploitation and conscription. They didnt' fight for slavery, just as the Union didn't try to end it. Fun fact - the KKK was only one of a tiny handful of local gangs designed to keep black people from voting. Most were gone by 1871. The Klan we know of today began in 1915 with the movie "Birth of a Nation" where Union civil war veterans help plantation owners kill black people. It sholdn't be a suprise most of the KKK was in the American mid-west, not the south. They would not touch the confederate flag until sometime after 1956. They (much like the neo-confederate group "league of the south") considered the confederate flag trashy because it had no political meaning.


Interrophish

> They didnt' fight for slavery, just as the Union didn't try to end it. the union didn't exactly go to war to end slavery, but the confederacy *did* go to war to protect slavery. the narrative of rebelling against overzealous federal authority was mostly a product of post-war propaganda efforts.


DangerousCyclone

> The statues of enlisted soldiers should remain, as they were mostly victims of class exploitation and conscription. This isn’t really true, slavery was defended on the basis of defending southern society. There were plenty of people who didn’t identify it and rebelled against the rebels (see West Virginia). > They didnt' fight for slavery, just as the Union didn't try to end it. Ah yes, the side which banned slavery in its own territory and actively freed slaves wasn’t trying to end it. > Fun fact - the KKK was only one of a tiny handful of local gangs designed to keep black people from voting. Most were gone by 1871. While this is true, the KKK were the most prominent to the point that the legislation targeting these white supremacist groups specifically called out the KKK. > The Klan we know of today began in 1915 with the movie "Birth of a Nation" where Union civil war veterans help plantation owners kill black people. That was the Second Klan, that started dying in the late 20’s after high profile members were caught murdering innocent white women and covering it up. It was finally killed by their pro Nazi stance. The modern Klan was formed in response to the Civil Rights movement.


macombman

West Virginia was a slave state.As were Delaware,Maryland,Kentucky and Missouri! All of which were part of the Union.Slavery didn’t end in totality in the North until passage of the 13th Amendment in 1865.


RexMundi000

>Ah yes, the side which banned slavery in its own territory and actively freed slaves wasn’t trying to end it. The Emancipation Proclamation only ended slavery in southern states. Slavery would live on in border states well after that. There would continue to be enslaved people in the Union border states until after the war ended. ​ >While this is true, the KKK were the most prominent They were not. There were other pistol and rifle clubs all over the south during reconstruction that engaged in active armed conflict with state militias to deprive African Americans of their rights. In many cases it got to the point where Republican governors were practically begging the federal government for troops because these groups were so large well armed.


TheoryKing04

Better then nothing, I suppose. Or at least better then dying treacherous, bitter and pathetic. The man was no Nelson Mandela, but he was no Hitler either


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BoredDanishGuy

This fine speech of telling them not to be uppity?


Low-Public-332

How do you get that from this?


Strange_Discharge

I read this as “ black folks, stay in your lane and know your roll, I’ll get your back.” The subtext is “ step out, and get put back in your place.” The klan’s major emphasis at the beginning was to keep black peoples out of politics. Both by running for government and keeping them from voting. Forrests speech says nothing about this.


MikeR1114

I came here to mention this as well. It’s sad how he is only remembered for the bad things he did in life, and no one knows about the 180-degree turn he made later on. This comment deserves to be the first thing people see in these threads filled with hate.


TheWormConquered

Yeah it's really sad how he's only remembered for slaughtering hundreds of surrendering black soldiers and not that time he said some nice things.


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clgoodson

Forgiveness does not require a statue.


Dunbaratu

The statue depicts him from his earlier life, even to the point of him being in his confederate uniform. It is NOT celebrating his change of mind.


waiv

There are plenty of people that you can celebrate who didn't start the KKK.


Er-Rashal

> He was a fascinating figure in many respects, but does not deserve any statues. > > Who does? Show me the man, I'll show you the flaw. To paraphrase a monster.


unique-name-9035768

Fred Rogers?


ibeenaready

I dunno, people who despite their flaws, add to the common good and forward momentum of society?


AllTheKingsHorses

I mean, maybe we just shouldn't make statues of people. It's an antiquated idea and people constantly disappoint us.


freedraw

> “Trying to judge past generations’ actions based on today’s values and the evolution of societies is not an exercise I am willing to do because I think it is counterproductive," Sexton said in a statement. Hmmm…slave plantation owner, slave trader, traitor to his country, war criminal who murdered troops who had already surrendered to him, and Grand Wizard of the KKK….yeah, actually I think I can judge this guy. This isn’t a situation like with some of our founding fathers where they have great contributions to the country that counterbalance the slave master stuff. It’s literally all bad. This bust went up in the 1970s. And every state politician in Tennessee knows exactly why and what it was in reaction to whether they’ll admit it or not.


aetius476

"But he changed and repented later in life!" Ok, so why is the bust of him in his CSA uniform and not him as he was after this alleged change?


monty_kurns

I think the issue is the whole 'changed and repented' part is often left out of history classes. Maybe if more people were taught that then they wouldn't have wanted a statue of him in the CSA uniform in the first place.


Ameisen

Forrest probably would have wanted this statue removed as well. Though it isn't really an alleged change. Late-life, he was a major advocate for racial harmony, and did things that outright *incensed* Southerners like kissing a black woman on the cheek (effectively treating her the same as a white woman) - something unheard of in the 1870s.


quitofilms

Using the standard cop out and lies >"Trying to judge past generations’ actions based on today’s values and the evolution of societies is not an exercise I am willing to do because I think it is counterproductive," Sexton said in a statement. "It is much more productive to learn from our past and not repeat the imperfections of the past. Any attempt to erase the past only aligns society with the teaching of communism, which believes the present dominates the past."


nWo1997

>Any attempt to erase the past only aligns society with the teaching of communism, which believes the present dominates the past." Uh, pardon? 1. This isn't "erasing the past." The colonists didn't "erase the past" by melting down a statue of King George III and turning the metal into bullets. **Taking down the statue only signifies that the state government will no longer glorify him.** No one's going to forget Forrest; he'll live in infamy. 2. Amazing. Jumped straight into commie talk. Apparently wanting to take down statues of, let's call them "morally problematic" old guys, necessitates wanting to abolish private property. Communism really just means whatever they don't like. Also, I don't recall going over that "present dominates the past" bit from my Philosophy classes when the subject turned to Marx.


LicketySplit21

Yeah, if anything Marx talked about how the past informs the present. To put it simply.


fpoiuyt

Evidently our only choices are communism and right-wing cultural relativism.


Fahrender-Ritter

>"Trying to judge past generations’ actions based on today’s values..." Except there were plenty of people even back then who knew that the KKK was wrong. There were people back then who knew that Jim Crow laws were immoral. Even in the 16th Century when the transatlantic slave trade started, there were people who knew that it was evil. If so many people back then could know better, then the racists weren't merely ignorant. Knowing that racism is wrong isn't "today's" values. If people back then could call out racists, then we can call them out, too.


Th3Hon3yBadg3r

Right? These pro-slavery people always act like abolitionists never existed, mostly because they wish they didn't!


spaghettilee2112

That, AND it's an excuse to justify their shitty opinions of today so they won't looked down upon by folks 100 years from not.


CanuckBacon

Or they act like the enslaved people themselves never existed. If you asked an enslaved person what they thought of slavery, I'm guessing they wouldn't really be a supporter of it.


icphx95

If you ever need a quick example, just point to the Quakers. Were abolitionists then civil rights activists.


Ameisen

> Except there were plenty of people even back then who knew that the KKK was wrong. Including Forrest, who "officially" disbanded the KKK and offered to personally hunt down Klansmen. I put "officially" in quotes because Forrest's actual status in the KKK is controversial, and he was effectively more of a figurehead that was appointed as grandmaster prior to him even knowing about it, and didn't really have any authority. The figurehead grandmaster disavowing the organization did it no favors, of course.


GrandpasSabre

I just want someone to ask a person like that how they'd feel about a Hitler statue in the middle of Berlin.


bent42

They'd salute it.


TheWizardCat_

There’s been abolitionists since the Roman times at least and slavery was comparatively rare during the Middle Ages in Europe because they thought it was immoral. There were even more abolitionists in the 19th century too. It wasn’t even seen as normal then; the south had to use euphemisms like “peculiar institution”. People thought it was wrong then because it’s always been wrong, just bad people had too much power to have it stopped.


Mizral

This actually isn't true, I mean the ancient Romans did not speak out against slavery and I mean we do not even have one single source. If you check carefully you'll see not even Jesus in the new testament really says anything bad about slavery. The reason wasn't moral it was a cultural one. For these ancient people slavery was just a fact of life. That said ancient Romans and others did speak about how immoral it was to be excessively cruel to slaves but interestingly they also spoke out about being excessively nice to slaves. There were a few slave revolts but even Spartacus of the second servile war didn't necessarily say slavery was to be abolished he just wanted himself and his group that be free. The first abolitionists were mostly religious nuts in England (Quakers) with the first major important abolitionist to be Benjamin Lay in the early 18th century I recommend reading up about him he had an incredible life and was the originator of the term 'peculiar institution' when describing slavery..


RexMundi000

There was an also interesting group of French Abolitionists in the 1700s that stemmed from their sugar interests in Hispaniola. It was one of the points of contention during the revolution as to what to do. Interesting enough Alexandre Dumas' (the author) father was a half black freeman from the colonies. During the revolution he rose the ranks from Private to the equivalent of a Major General and commanded tens of thousands of men into combat. He was the highest ranking general of any western military well into the 20th century.


should-stop-posting

>The first abolitionists were mostly religious nuts in England (Quakers) I don't think you can say that. In France in 1315, King Louis X declared "France means freedom" and decreed that any slave setting foot in France was automatically freed. Not merely a symbolic gesture, a Norman slave merchant in the 1500s was arrested and his property liberated. Enforcement of this rule would decline as France became more entangled in the transatlantic slave trade, and many slaves did enter France (and not immediately receive freedom) in the 1700s. But it would simply be incorrect to say no one before the early modern period ever thought slavery was evil and should be abolished. Similarly, in England, as far back as 1102, a church council declared "Let no one dare hereafter to engage in the infamous business, prevalent in England, of selling men like animals." And William the Conqueror outlawed the export of English slaves to overseas lands. This destroyed much of the economic basis for slave-raiding, and led to the gradual extinction of slavery in Britain by the 1200s. A 1569 court case where a man was put on trial for assault (whipping his slave he'd brought from Russia) ruled that "England was too pure an air for a slave to breathe in" and that English common law had no basis for slavery. Some later court decisions interpreted this to mean England had the same law as France: "soon as a man sets foot on English ground he is free." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slavery_in_Britain https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Louis_X_of_France#Abolition_of_slavery_and_serfdom


shrunkchef

Also the second part of that statement where he said it’s more productive to learn from the past directly contradicts the first part, when he said we shouldn’t judge people from the past by our modern standards. You can’t learn from the past without opposing parts of it from a present standpoint, obviously. There’s also the random communism comparison, like it’s 1954.


sticks14

>Any attempt to erase the past only aligns society with the teaching of communism, which believes the present dominates the past. Not gonna lie, kind of had me until this sentence. These people are something else. Very weird notions of things. They literally have a "headspace" that is theirs.


Grevas13

The 'no' voters repeated the standard Republican lie that it's "erasing history" they're taking a stand against. They're really just racists. You learn history from books, you *honor* history with statues. Don't let them get away with their dogwhistling. Randy McNally and Cameron Sexton (both Republicans) voted to keep a statue of a KKK Grand Wizard on government premises. Edit: Credit where it's due. It was a bipartisan decision to remove the statue. Plenty of Republicans did the right thing here. Just not the two racists that I named.


Chemical_Noise_3847

Dude's name is randy McNally? Is he a map maker by chance?


thetensor

> You learn history from books YOU learn history from books. They burn books and revere racists.


S3simulation

There’s a bit of that classic Conservative Projection in that argument too since Confederate statues were themselves attempts at revisionist history.


TwilitSky

Half of these statues went up during Jim Crow (and not just at the beginning) as as a pretty not subtle threat and insult to blacks seeking equal treatment under the law. That bullshit about history is just that.


TheWormConquered

There are times when removing statues is nothing more than erasing history, like the Taliban blowing up centuries old Buddhist statues. Taking down Jim Crow era monuments to confederates from places of honor on public land isn't one of those times. I don't think conservatives are able to see the difference though


urbrickles

"They'd all dress up in their robes and their bed sheets and act like a bunch of ghosts or spooks or something'. They'd even put bed sheets on their horses and ride around. And anyway, that's how I got my name, Forrest Gump."


kaze919

Seriously they should just replace the statue with Forrest Gump. He’s much more important to American history.


AlterEgo3561

All in favor of replacing the Nathan Forrest bust with a bust of Tom Hanks say I.


[deleted]

I always thought it was weird that they made Forrest Gump be a descendant of Nathan Bedford Forrest. Like, why?


MitsyEyedMourning

A racist murdering traitorous loser and it takes til 2021 to stop honoring the guy. If Jesus took a knee during a football game it'd be hell to pay but for this guy, all the second chances.


COAST_TO_RED_LIGHTS

If Jesus actually did come back, modern conservatives would crucify him again.


ty_kanye_vcool

Meh, they’d probably just avoid him as another random homeless guy.


MattThePhatt

But what would Jesus *really* do?


thx1138-

Probably take to the GOP with a whip and knock over all their stuff.


MattThePhatt

Lmao, I love the idea of him just clearing counters.


SkyWanderluster

He did flip tables (literally) when people started using places of worship for commerce. Like, it's a bible thing and all


thx1138-

Could you imagine what Jesus would do if there were people who built entire places of worship just for making money? Could you IMAGINE???


spaghettilee2112

I can't imagine and it's making me so mad I'm flipping tables over it. WHAT WOULD HE HAVE DONE?


[deleted]

I can kind of understand an argument for a statue of Lee or Jackson but Forrest is best known for being the first leader of the Klan and pretty much turning it in to a nationwide and successful terrorist organization. How could any statue of him not be considered offensive?


Tojatruro

Here we are, celebrating that Tennessee is removing the bust of the leader of the KKK from their Capitol. The fact that it literally takes an act of the Tennessee Congress … in 2021 … to get rid of a disgusting monument to one of the biggest assholes to have ever walked on American soil is astonishing.


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AreWeCowabunga

But how will we remember who Forrest Gump was named after?


Durpy15648

VHS players.


AreWeCowabunga

VHS players, another example of our disappearing heritage.


BubbaTee

I propose we build a statue of a VCR in the town square, to symbolize pride in our heritage in standing up against those Beta carpetbaggers!


FlyingSquid

With an eternal blinking 12:00.


FOUR3Y3DDRAGON

Can we put a blockbuster sticker on it as well? And a weekly bill that represents the ever growing late fees?


Mal5341

So this man had an..."interesting" life. A racist slave owner who fought for the Confederacy, a traitor to his country and a founder of the KKK. And a man who in his later years after meeting with former slaves changed his views, denounced the Klan, offered reward money to find and prosecute lynchers and Klansman and gave speeches at Black churches on the power of reconciliation and forgiveness. Do I believe he was a complex person who suffered demons and in his dying years tried to make up for all the horrid evil things he had done? I like to believe anyone is capable of becoming a better person and trying to change for the better. Does that mean he still deserves statues and named places after him? Hell no. The people who made these statues and named places after him sure as hell didn't do so to honor his later in life renunciations, but to honor his "service" in the war.


ChemistryNo8870

he would probably repudiate those statues himself, if he were alive. Or at least I'd like to think so.


BillionTonsHyperbole

Americans erecting these statues and monuments are the cognitive equivalent of the Catholic Church naming Judas Iscariot as a Saint.


p0ultrygeist1

Funny enough a lot of people confuse St. Jude with Judas Iscariot and assume the Catholic Church DID make Judas a patron saint.


[deleted]

Hey, someone had to fulfill the prophecy…?


Daztur

That's actually the point of the apocryphal Gospel of Judas in which Judas is acting under orders from Jesus.


[deleted]

So….. Snape and Dumbledore? 😃


Daztur

Yup, exactly. Also that Jesus only told Judas the REAL shit. There are also some references in the canonical gospels to Jesus' "favorite disciple" which some people take to be Judas.


MikeR1114

You’re trying to sound smart, but you’re showing your ignorance. Forrest turned his life around and became a public advocate for black civil rights and spoke out against the KKK. Another comment in this thread pointed that out already, but I know you just had to get your jokes in. A better Biblical comparison would be Paul. A man who once persecuted Christians but completely turned his life around and became a great example of God’s forgiveness and grace.


xanthan1

And then people built statues SPECIFICALLY of Paul from when he was persecuting Christians, if you want to be accurate.


Alpaca-Bowl420

Doritos Locos tacos have been around for twice as long as the confederacy. Let that sink in.


daveashaw

Wasn't this bust put in there in like, 1978 or something?


SparxIzLyfe

I think it was a few decades prior, but essentially, yes in the sense that most Civil War statues were installed decades after 1865.


BulbasaurCPA

Like many a 90s kid I first heard of Nathan Bedford Forrest from Forrest Gump. Forrest Gump was a descendant of the Confederate general, and was named after him. “Momma said that the Forrest part was to remind that sometimes we all do things that, well, just don't make no sense.” I think that’s really the only appropriate way for NBF, and other confederates, to be remembered. “Isn’t that a dumb thing all those guys did?”


CrocTheTerrible

I speak for the Nathan’s of the world and I think we let this guy be forgotten. He was not the best Nathan. He didn’t even make hotdogs.


nate959

yeah maybe the bust of the founder of the KKK shouldn't be in a government building.


thisismynewacct

> "Trying to judge past generations’ actions based on today’s values and the evolution of societies is not an exercise I am willing to do because I think it is counterproductive," Causally ignoring that they were judged by their own peers at the time. Hence why we fought a civil war. They new slavery, killing prisoners, and the KKK was bad then, so it doesn’t matter if we judge it based off of what we know now.


thought_first

Just in time for statues of insurrectionists it seems. I got lied to growing up. This country's, right of center, leadership reveres traders not heroes.


phunkyfill

It’s ironic how many idols these conservative “Christians” have.


megadave902

I only know who this is because of Forrest Gump.


Steelplate7

Yep…me too. Never delved into the history of the KKK. I just knew that they were gravy sucking pigs…which was(and still is) good enough for me.


CorvidGurl

I have a dear friend who is related to this wackjob, and he'd applaud this change.


GrandpasSabre

The man himself would probably also applaud this change. He had an epiphany later in life and, while it doesn't redeem his actions, it shows that he probably would not like how he is still being honored today.


ZombieZookeeper

Always nice to stop honoring a racist traitor.


kiloskree

Justin Jones, you are awesome! [https://www.newschannel5.com/news/newschannel-5-investigates/did-house-speakers-office-attempt-to-frame-activist-da-asks-for-special-prosecutor-to-investigate](https://www.newschannel5.com/news/newschannel-5-investigates/did-house-speakers-office-attempt-to-frame-activist-da-asks-for-special-prosecutor-to-investigate)


what_would_freud_say

Toss it in Lick Creek where he ran from his his post.


whicky1978

I thought it was already approved.


BK4343

Forrest City, AR is named after this guy. The town is 71% black. Karma I tell ya.


AlarmablePoint

So is Forrest County, MS


Pepperoni_playboi94

Yeah this dude was a complete scum bag. Fuck your history if you think remembering this dude is valuable


[deleted]

My names Garbage…. Garbage Dump….


BoltgunOnHisHip

Alright, but they better leave this one up: https://i.imgur.com/MoXL2qB.jpeg This is basically the only statue of a confederate general I fully approve of. It communicates the quality and skill of Forrest (and most other CSA generals,) quite well. Although I do maintain my usual stance that there should be a 3x scale statue of James H. Wilson (preferably one of better quality) built directly behind it, looking down disapprovingly.


badkarmavenger

As a general, the man could be claimed as a legitimate tennessee historical figure. For better or worse, or just worse, the confederacy is a part of Tennessee history. We must acknowledge that. Much like Germany teaches the history of the world wars, we must embrace the past and learn from it. A bust of Forrest in a history museum should be expected, but a bust in the Capitol just isn't right. The man started the Ku Klux Klan for God's sake! If anything could blight a career worse I don't know what it could be. I'm a Tennessean and I'm a conservative (hate me for my labels if you must) but I don't think we should glorify people who were net-negatives to our country. We should remember them. Just like I saw Hitler's globe at the museum geschiste in Berlin, we must catalogue our negative past lest we repeat it. - for those who haven't seen it, you can see bullet holes in Europe from when he raged over losing the war. I hate to see history sterilized. Tennessee has a sad history when it comes to human rights, but very few of its residents can be tied to people who owned slaves. Rather than topple statues and bury names we should be moving them from squares to history museums. Rather than public glory they should be relegated to places of thought where viewers learn. This bust should sit in a museum where there is context showing Forrest as a good general and a terrible human-being and warning about how easy it is for people to slip from good intentions to terrible ends else we repeat those ends again and again..


Wax_and_Wane

>I hate to see history sterilized. I genuinely don't see how the removal of a statue that was only made within you or your parents lifetime sterilizes anything.


badkarmavenger

Did you read what I wrote? Take the fucking thing out of the state house, and move it to a museum somewhere. Stick it next to an exhibit full of all the implements that slave-owners used to punish their slaves and an exhibit on civil war battlefield surgery. I'm not saying glorify the man. Just don't throw it in the dumpster to forget about it. Uncomfortable history can usually teach us more than the stuff we like reading about.


yasiel_pug

museum? the thing was created in 1978


[deleted]

I genuinely don't see how you got that from his comment. Did you read the entire thing or just zone out at the word conservative? Is reading comprehension an issue for you? If so my apologies as it's not my intention to mock the disabled.


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Dobermanpure

Stone Mountain first.


TheMysticBard

Probably should, it is just a giant middle finger to the natives of that land.


xanthan1

You mean the desecrated sacred land we stole from native Americans that shouldn't exist in the first place...? ​ Oh wait you're a racist who thinks confederates were patriots and not just traitors, of course you didn't think that through.


PhilOfTheRightNow

They already did that in Team America


GregSutherland

They'll blow up Mount Rushmore because people don't want a bust of the Grand Wizard of the KKK in the Tennessee state capitol?