Petition Against Selma's Ku Klux Klan Monument
Tomorrow, signatures on a petition against the renovation of a monument honoring a known Klan leader in Selma, Alabama, will be delivered to the city council. Eleven years ago, protesters got the monument, which honors Civil War Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest who was known as the first “Grand Wizard” of the Ku Klux Klan, moved off public property. In March, the general’s bust was stolen, sparking a plan by the group Friends of Forrest to renovate the monument, replace the bust and add a fnaence and lighting.
Community activist Malika Sanders-Fortier is calling on the city council to remove the monument all together. “Monuments celebrating violent racism and intolerance have no place in this country, let alone in a city like Selma, where the families of those attacked by the Klan still live,” she writes in the petition description.
In addition to the petition being delivered, a re-enactment of the Bloody Sunday Selma to Montgomery march is also planned for tomorrow. The petition, which currently has 313,617 signatures, is available through change.org. Sign your name by clicking here.
Read more about the controversy from NBC News. (Photo by NBC News.)
Kullervo / September 13, 2012
I am hesitant to appear like I am coming to the defense of the Klan, because that is not my intention, but this petition, and the sentiment behind it, vastly oversimplifies an enormously complex historical figure and blurs historical nuances into a narrative that is every bit as problematic and ideological as the Lost Cause Mythology that it is implicitly questioning.
I don’t think we do the South any favors by trading an unnuanced and distorted heroic historical narrative for an unnuanced and distorted villainous historical narrative. And I certainly don’t think we need 313,617 random people on the internet telling us what whom we should or should not honor and why or why not.
The South as a thing is complex and contradictory, and there is nothing wrong with embracing that, even when it is painful. The Lost Cause myth it itself just as much of a part of the South as the the Civil Rights movement and the ugly reality of slavery.