Gov. Bill Lee proclaimed today as Nathan Bedford Forrest Day in Tennessee, in honor of the former Confederate general who became the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.
The Ku Klux Klan is a white-supremacist organization that existed in three distinct points in the history of the United States, espousing an ideology similar to that of the Fascists in Europe.
“I signed the bill because the law requires that I do that and I haven’t looked at changing that law,” said Lee, who declined to say whether he believed it should be changed.
Lee is taking heat but he has opposed removing the bust of Forrest from the statehouse, saying he thought it was a “mistake to whitewash history.”
Lee had proclaimed Saturday Nathan Bedford Forrest Day in Tennessee, according to The Tennessean. Under state law, Tennessee’s governor must issue proclamations for six days of special observation, three of which pertain to the Confederacy, the paper noted.
In addition to July 13’s Forrest Day, Tennessee governors are also required by law to proclaim Jan. 19 Robert E. Lee Day and June 3 as Confederate Decoration Day, also known as Confederate Memorial Day.
“I haven’t even looked at that law, other than knowing I needed to comply with it, so that’s what I did,” Lee said. “When we look at the law, then we’ll see.”
Social media users blasted the governor for not fighting against the law requiring governors to designate a day to Forrest.
Jamelle Bouie, a columnist for The New York Times, tweeted, “very cool that tennessee has a day honoring a confederate war criminal and founder of america’s oldest and deadliest terrorist group.”
Even Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas called on Tennessee to change the law honoring the Confederate general and Klan leader.
“This is WRONG. Nathan Bedford Forrest was a Confederate general & a delegate to the 1868 Democratic Convention. He was also a slave trader & the 1st Grand Wizard of the KKK. Tennessee should not have an official day (tomorrow) honoring him. Change the law,” Cruz tweeted Friday.
The white-supremacist organization first flourished after the American Civil War, seeking to overthrow Republican governments in Southern states by using violence against African-American leaders.
Federal law enforcement suppressed the traitors who sought to restore white supremacy by threats and violence, including murder, against blacks and white Republicans by 1872.
The terrorist group had a nationwide rebirth in Georgia in 1915 and it flourished in the early and mid-1920s, taking inspiration from D. W. Griffith’s 1915 silent film The Birth of a Nation.
The third and current manifestation of the KKK emerged after 1950, in opposition to the civil rights movement. It is classified as a hate group by the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center for using violence and murder to suppress the exercise of freedom.
Lee said he has not considered changing the law that requires Tennessee’s governor to issue six days of observation, including one dedicated to Forrest, whose bust is on display in the state Capitol.
Tennessee governors are required to issue proclamations for six separate days of special observation, three of which, including the July 13 Forrest Day, pertain to the Confederacy.
Jan. 19 is Robert E. Lee Day, honoring the traitorous slave owner who commanded the Confederate Army. June 3 is known as Confederate Memorial Day and the birthday of Confederate President Jefferson Davis.
“The traitorous, pro-slavery Confederate losers remain popular in the South because they allow people to feel better about themselves even if they are unworthy of if,”
“It’s clear that the policy the Union actually pursued—not hanging any Southern officers except the miserable wretch who commanded Andersonville POW camp—failed miserably,” said Brad Jonas. “A decade after we defeated the Confederacy at the cost of 300,000 loyal Union soldiers’ lives, the same planter oligarchy was running the South again, terrorizing the Freedmen and women who were our only loyal allies during the war, making sure black people never got a chance to vote, running them off their farms, doing their best to recreate slavery without the name.”
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