My e-mail to Palmer
Those who oppose any recognition and celebration of General Forrest act either in ignorance or as part of an agenda – that is, the cultural genocide of the South, her history and her heritage. Actually, with regard to the issue of race, General Forrest addressed the first meeting of a black organization that was the forerunner of the NAACP and was given a warm welcome (including flowers) by those attending. He spoke of his desire to see black Americans prosper and join in the mainstream of American society, offering any assistance he could give to bring that situation into reality.
As for the claim that Forrest was involved in the creation or was a member of the Ku Klux Klan: the only thing that Forrest had to do with the Klan was to demand its disbandment. The man was brought before a Congressional Committee and Gen. William Sherman (a true war criminal) wanted him hanged, but the members of Congress after extensively questioning Forrest about the alleged massacre at Fort Pillow and his alleged involvement with the Klan found no guilt in the man and he was released with their thanks for his efforts as post war reconciliation.
Nathan Bedford Forrest was a military genius. He was also a man who rejected secession but went to war when his home was invaded. The same can be said for men like Robert E. Lee. At the end of the war, he told his men to surrender, get a parole and return home to rebuild their state. Among his closest companions were black men who had been his slaves (whom he freed before the war ended) and were at that time and remained afterwards, his friends. The idea that Forrest is somehow dishonorable is patent nonsense and speaks only to the ignorance and/or "politically correct" agenda of those attempting to thwart the will of the majority of the people. In matters such as this and the war against Southern heritage, history, heroes and symbols, I say "put it to a vote and let the people decide." The tyranny of a few over the will of the many is NOT an American concept.
Valerie Protopapas, Editor
The Southern Cavalry Review,
Newsletter of The Stuart-Mosby Historical Society
Huntington Station, New York