Mr. Chairman, Honored members of this Committee, and those present. I have placed before you to peruse; a copy of the Historic March Across Dixie Pictorial Journal. It is a very important vehicle that is at the forefront of breaking down the Wall of persona nongrata ( being personally unacceptable or unwelcome ) of the Confederate Battle Flag. And that of the Honorable Beings who stitched it together, carried it into battle, shrouded the bodies of their loved, and who placed it atop the buildings that governed those who deeply believed in giving love to their fellow man, as was proven when one of the Almighty Gods' ultimate test was thrust upon them; " The Economic Institution of Southern Slavery".
General Nathan Bedford Forrest was one of those Honorable Beings, and unquestionably by his actions; a friend to the African of his time, be they freed or indentured. There are many Black folks here in Memphis who owe their very existence to the kind General who answered a knock at his door from a plea of African whose wife had just been sold to cover his masters debts, and the General found himself in the saddle, buying back a slave that he would never use, just to bring peace to a kindly soul.
A man that had his horse shot from under him many times in battle, with never a fret because he knew that one of those forty plus Black men who went off to war with him; had his back when he hit the ground. And as the shirt before you reads in his own words : : These boys stayed with me... and better Confederates did not live."
There are those like Commercial Appeal Reporter Wendi C. Thomas who write calumny( false and malicious accusation ) about the General , with the intent of exciting from the public a level of hate that is a danger to public safety. The United States Congress exonerated General Nathan Bedford Forrest at their Klan Tribunal, of any crimes associated with the Klan or Fort Pillow. And I never heard her mention one time the terror heaped upon the citizens of Tennessee and the South by the Union League, be they Red, Yellow, Brown, Black or White. Or that it was the Klan during the time of Forrest that broke the back of reconstruction in the South; 12 years of terror for all Southerners, with the exception of the scalawags who climbed into bed with the Carpetbaggers, and Northern appointed military Governors and their tribunals that stole and raped and murdered all the way to the bank.
And never to forget in closing the North plan to divide Southern Whites and Southern Blacks from each other, starting first with the teaching of the Almighty God by Southern Ministers like the Honorable R.L.Dabney of Prince Edward County Virginia who spelled out in his famous letter to the head of the so called Freedman Bureau in September of 1865, all the things that the South had done to try and do right by the African people held in bondage, and all the things that the Yankees should do, and stop doing to a hapless people( vagrancy laws and entrapment of the company store to name a few) now that they had all the money and national resources fully in their command.
Even Dr. Martin Luther King could not be persuaded to attack the Southern Cross or those who fought and served under it;" sons of former slaves, sons of former slave owners, and far too many that were neither". I am the immediate Past President of the Asheville Branch of the NAACP, and at no time do I recall that David Duke or any leader of the KU Klux Klan, invited by that organization, or for that matter the Commander In Chief of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, or the President of the United Daughters of the Confederacy invited to give the Keynote Speech at their National Convention. However, here was the Pole Bearers of Memphis, Tennessee, a forefront of organizations like the NAACP, inviting the General to do just that. The first and only White man to be given that high Honor. If it makes any difference to a woman that hates as Ms.White does, have her read that accounting that sums up who General Forrest truly was.
A monument is defined as a lasting reminder in remembrance of a person or event, and it is the duty of those who follow to see that this mandate is protected. Political correctness and the lies and distortions of those who hate it are no excuse to do other wise. As much as I deplore the likes of Lincoln and his son having a monument of their likeness at the Tredegar Iron Works in Virginia, or on the Capitol Mall in Washington, I cannot dig the war criminal up, or that of President Grant who owned slaves as he entered the White House as the lies ran forward to the world that his Commander In Chief Lincoln had him fight a war to end the economic institution of slavery. Good help was hard to find was his excuse.
We here in the South need to embrace our history and heroes of the past while searching out truths not told by those who took a criminal road of Total Warfare upon defenseless men, women, and children . Thank you for having me, and I hope that you will take a path that can lead to a better community and will earn the respect of many across this land who call themselves Southern, and the many of the North who believe in a sense of fair play.
Statement to Committee Meeting - Memphis, TN
by HK Edgerton / President Southern Heritage 411