To the Editor:
I do not know why some in Selma, Alabama are against a stone monument to Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest being located in the historic old cemetery. After all, Selma spans many eras of history including this period. One would think there would be room for all this town`s history. If nothing else it is a drawing point for tourist & more money for Selma.
The excuse given is that Gen. Forrest was the first leader of the Klan which, the U.S. Congress later determined he was not. This conclusion by a congressional hearing of that time should be good enough for anyone without all the modern-day emotional upheaval over what was or was not history or whether or not anyone today agrees with it is a moot point. Unless of course, those opposed to it are actually using that part of history for political gain in the present.
Millions of people believe that Martin Luther King Jr. & many of the various civil rights groups & leaders were either communist or at least affiliated with communist organizations. No one will really know for sure until the F.B.I. releases those files to the public. Until then no groups history is squeaky clean & without blemish including yours.
However, you do not see the supporters of Selma`s Civil War history acting a fool every time there is a reenactment of the crossing of the Edmund Pettus Bridge or a monument or statue is erected to some civil rights leader of the past put up somewhere. Like it or not they realize that in a free country everyone has a right to memorialize & honor anything they chose including stone monuments & statues.
Mutual respect for each other’s history, heritage, culture & all symbols of it are being suppressed & erased in Selma by a few malcontents with ulterior motives. Things are never going to improve in Selma until some in the civil rights crowd realize that they are not the only ones with a past & constitutional rights.
As the old saying goes, "if you want respect, you must give respect." Until such a time expect none.
Billy E. Price