By: Calvin E. Johnson, Jr.
Some people are pushing to change the history of Memphis, Tennessee.
The cities park’s; Forrest, Confederate and Jefferson Davis, have, all of a sudden, become a embarrassment to a few and the majority, who appreciate their God given American Heritage, are being ignored. The so- called people of "Diversity" seem to want to erase the wonderful memories that we "as a family" cherish.
Union General William T. Sherman said of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest, "After all, I think Forrest was the most remarkable man our "Civil War" produced on either side. This is quite a statement from a man who was once a foe of Forrest’s on the field of Battle.
It is written that General Nathan Bedford Forrest ,nicknamed, "Wizard of the Saddle" never lost a battle. One Hundred twenty eight years after his death, he may lose his first in Memphis, Tennessee. There are people who also want Forrest Park renamed, removed or just given away. Some people even advocate the removing of the graves of Forrest and his wife Mary who rest under the shade of the memorial statue to our general.
All residents of Memphis, Tennessee should stand up against this "Political Correctness." Please share the following story with your family.
After the War Between the States, white and black, citizens of the South came home from a long-bloody war to find their homes burned, and food and money in short supply.
On July 4, 1875, General Nathan Bedford Forrest was welcomed at the convention of the "Jubilee of Pole Bearers" an African-American political group. He received great applause for his speech that focused on friendship between the black and white races. His entire speech was printed in the July 6, edition of the Memphis Daily Avalanche. He said, "Do your duty as citizens, and if you are oppressed, I will be your friend."
This year, 2005, is the 100 anniversary of the dedication of the Forrest Statue in Memphis. This should be the year to celebrate this park’s centennial.
In the year of our Lord 1887, efforts were begun to raise the necessary funds to erect a statue to honor Forrest. In 1891, The "Forrest Monument Association" was formed in Memphis. The ladies Auxiliary was formed to help this committee and the United Confederate Veterans helped to raise money. Politican and business folk’s were the backbone of this committee. The "Who’s-Who" of Memphis served on that committee.
The price of the statue to General Forrest was the huge sum of $32,359.53. It should be noted that the ladies auxiliary worked hard to raise $3,000 which was a great deal of money in those days.
In 1901, during the United Confederate Veterans convention in Memphis, the cornerstone of the monument was dedicated. During August of that year Charles H. Nichaus was given the contract to build a bronze casting of the statue. The statue was produced in Paris, France and was shipped to New York, then to Savannah, and finally by rail to Memphis.
In 1904, the son of General Forrest, Captain William Montgomery Forrest gave the Forrest Monument Association permission to re-inter the remains of his father Nathan and mother Mary at Forrest Park where the statue would be dedicated the following year.
There was a full moon on Monday, May 15, and on Tuesday, May 16, 1905, over 30,000 people congregated at Forrest Park in Memphis to take part in the statue dedication. The memorial began at 2:30PM with many speeches of tribute to the general and was finalized with General Forrest’s granddaughter pulling the cord that unveiled the larger then life statue. This was proceded by the reverent playing of everyone’s favorite song from North and South "Dixie".
Wonderful words are inscribed on the Forrest monument that were written by Mrs. Virginia Frazer Boyer, "Those hoof beats upon crimson’s sod, But will ring through her song and her story; He fought like a Titan and struck like a god, And his dust is our ashes of glory."
The time has come to stop the cleansing of our American’ History. We are a free people, today, because we have remembered those who gave their life’s blood for freedom. Please teach your children about their grandfathers and grandmothers of America’s past. Please write Memphis, Tennessee Mayor W.W. Herenton and city council and ask them to help protect and preserve "all" of our history. Keep Forrest, Confederate and Jefferson Davis Parks as a remembrance of our past.
And his dust is our ashes of glory. God Bless!