04 September 2012
Hank Sanders, Alabama State Senator representing Selma and Dallas County and eight other West Alabama counties, is challenging the building of a Monument to General Nathan Bedford Forrest. Sanders comments, "Nathan Bedford Forrest was one of the richest slave dealers in the South. Under General Nathan Bedford Forrest leadership, black soldiers who had surrendered were murdered in cold blood at Fort Pillow, Tennessee during the Civil War."
After the Civil War, General Forrest took leadership of the Klan becoming its first Grand Wizard and built it into a national force that terrorized Black people across this country for decades. There is already a monument to Forrest at Live Oak Cemetery. We do not need a bigger monument of Forrest in Selma, the symbol for voting rights and freedom all over the world."
"We have worked to eliminate memorials and anything else that honors Nathan Bedford Forrest including changing the name of an almost entirely black housing project just outside of town named for decades NBF Homes that stood for Nathan Bedford Forrest. We successfully renamed the housing project to MBA Homes in honor of Minnie B. Anderson," Sanders said. He continued, "In the year 2000, we successful fought to remove a Forrest monument from a public building, the Smitherman Building. It was at that time, that the monument was relocated to the Live Oak Cemetery. We were not pleased then and continue to be displeased now that a memorial that honors a slave trader and a murderer of Black people is present in our town."
Sanders also protested a document on the monument which called his wife, Faya Rose Toure; a "Domestic Terrorist. "No public property should be used to defame anyone, said Sanders. "A terrorist is a criminal. It is a sad day when a person who protest a terrorist like Nathan Bedford Forrest is called a "domestic terrorist" and it’s posted on public property."
Sanders also spoke out against the physical assault on his wife, Faya Rose Toure. "The supervisor of the construction project grabbed and pushed my wife. He then put his finger in her face. I will not stand for anyone assaulting any one. I certainly will not stand for anyone assaulting my wife or any member of my family. This supervisor of the Nathan Bedford Forrest Monument must face justice."
The Friends of Forrest, a Confederate organization and co-founded by Cecil Williamson and Patricia Godwin are behind the building of the monument. "They [Friends of Forrest] have been raising money for years for a permanent monument to Forrest by selling a packet of information that was originally published by the KKK right after the 1965 Selma to Montgomery march. They call the packet, Truth Uncensored and it attacks the Voting Rights Movement." Among several articles in the packet are booklets called, Sex and the Civil Rights Movement - The True Selma Story, that falsely claims the Selma to Montgomery march was a drunken orgy; and Nightriders , The Truth Surrounding Viola Liuzzo’s Killing falsely charges Mrs. Liuzzo with being a prostitute. You can see a description of all the racist materials in the packet at www.firstfreedom.net/68.htm
Cecil Williamson is the president of the Selma City Council and has a long history of involvement with secessionist and White supremacy groups including the John Birch Society and the League of the South. "We exposed his attendance at a Nathan Bedford Forrest birthday celebration in July 2010. Along with the Confederate flag, a racist caricature of a Black child eating watermelon was the display for their water melon station." In spite of the fact that the Selma City Council was presented this evidence and other detailed evidence of Williamson’s racism," Sanders said, "they failed to vote him out of the office of president of Council."
Sanders said he has had enough. "I wrote a column on Nathan Bedford Forrest eleven years ago. We are still struggling with this issue today. This matter has gone way too far. We must take a stand. That’s why I am speaking out now. That’s why others must speak out."
Please express your outrage and opposition to the building of this monument by emailing the Mayor George Evans at email@example.com, Thomas C. Atchison at firstname.lastname@example.org, Angela Benjamin at email@example.com, Greg J. Bjelke at firstname.lastname@example.org, Corey D. Bowie at email@example.com, Susan Keith at firstname.lastname@example.org, Samuel L. Randolph at email@example.com, and Cecil Williamson at firstname.lastname@example.org" Sanders appealed. He noted that emails to Bennie Ruth Crenshaw and Bennie L. Tucker should be sent to the Council Secretary at email@example.com.
ONLINE PETITION: To sign the online petition to stop the monument, visit www.change.org/selma •