Friday, September 6, 2013

Letter to the Editor of the Confederate Veteran Magazine Regarding Nathan Bedford Forrest

The July/August issue of the SCV Confederate Veteran magazine included an outstanding article on General Nathan Bedford Forrest which provided the argument that the commonly held belief that Forrest was at one time the head of the Ku Klux Klan is not supported by documented historical evidence.  This blog author took exception to a couple of point and wrote a letter to the editor as follows:

Dr. Michael Bradley’s article “Nathan Bedford Forrest and the Ku Klux Klan” in the July/August edition of the Confederate Veteran I think missed on a couple points. I don’t believe he included one historical bit of evidence which helps contribute to the belief that Forrest was the leader of the Klan. “Major James Crowe of Sheffield Alabama one of the original six of the Pulaski Den, in a letter written in 1908 (to the UDC), but not published until 1914, after his death, stated the case, ‘After the order grew to large numbers we found it necessary to have someone of large experience to command.  We chose General N.B. Forrest.’” (Nathan Bedford Forrest: First with the Most by Robert Selph Henry).  That would be someone with firsthand knowledge of the actual historical event.  But the point was made and should have been the emphasis of the article that the Klan of that period formed to resist the lawlessness and atrocities of the Reconstruction against the Southern populace.  An honorable and justifiable aim surely.  But Bradley’s article further stated in defending Forrest’s antebellum slave trading as a product of his time, “Obviously what we call moral is a changeable concept. Obviously there is no single social standard which can be applied to past, present and future.” I would argue God’s Word, the Bible provides an unchanging moral foundation to which we should refer and adhere throughout all generations and eternity.  And coincidentally, it speaks to the issue of slavery. 

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