Reply from Valerie Stewart
Message from Valerie Stewart at Associated Content‏
Dear Mr. Bearden:
I appreciate your comments. They are filled with facts and valuable information. However, the nature of opinion/editorial is just that, opinion. In our wonderful nation where freedom of speech is cherished, opinions are formed from a variety of sources. I read about Nathan Bedford Forrest and his colorful history. My view was shaped from this, he was a wealthy, SLAVE owner, who although may not have been a founder of the KU Klux Klan, his involvement is questionable. Did he ever publicly denounce the group or speak up to clear his name of such an association? Even still, the argument surrounding the school board is about the connotation of naming a public school after this man. The general perception is that this man represents a part of American history that we are still trying to recuperate from. In a time where racial equality is extremely important, we have to be more sensitive to such matters. From the heated debate between the school boar d members, it is obvious that certain people (the two black members) take offense to the name. At a school that is predominantly black, should they ignore these opinions? Forrest may have been a military scholar and he can be recognized for that. To some, Hitler may have been a military scholar. The bottom line is this: to the general public Forrest represents a horrible part of American history. Although this can not be erased, we should be cognizant of issues such as these that are sensitive to a certain group of people. I know this may not be an easy thing to do because it is hard to step into the shoes of another race.