Tag Archives: Nathan Bedford Forrest

Another Civil War heritage controversy, coming right up

When all else fails, you can always count on a Nathan Bedford Forrest monument to stir up a mess.  This one’s in Selma, AL and got vandalized back in March.  Now it’s about to get repaired, but there’s a petition going around asking the city council to take the whole thing down.

The thing is, neither the monument nor the land on which it sits belong to the city.  It was on public property when first erected in 2000, but a ruckus ensued which resulted in its relocation to a plot owned by the UDC following year.  What do the petitioners expect the city council to do about a monument on private land?  Your guess is as good as mine.

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Filed under Civil War, History and Memory

Show and tell

Head over to Civil War Memory to watch Glenn Beck pick up Nathan Bedford Forrest’s sword, explain that the weapon likely “skinned people alive,” and proclaim it “a sword of tremendous American evil.”  Sort of like the One Ring, I suppose; we should put it in a fire to see if it’s got an inscription.

As you might imagine, the SCV was less than thrilled with Beck’s attempt to paint Forrest as a nineteenth-century Hannibal Lecter.

Beck also had a number of artifacts on hand during a rally in Texas this past weekend.  If this broadcasting thing doesn’t pan out, maybe he can get a gig as a museum docent.  Hopefully he’ll do some additional reading between now and then.

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This is the sort of thing

…that’s just made for blogging fodder.  If  you follow the ACW blogs, then chances are you’re already aware of it.  If you don’t follow them—or comics, movies, and the careers of high-ranking Confederates who served in the Western Theater—then here’s the situation:

In 1864, Maj. Gen. Patrick Cleburne proposed that slaves be enlisted into the Confederate armed forces, in exchange for their freedom.  The scheme went nowhere, and Cleburne lost his life at Franklin.  About a century and a half later, Cleburne’s scheme became the basis of a graphic novel, which added more fuel to the ever-popular black Confederate controversy.  Now a film project based on the comic is in the works.

You’ve got the intersection of the past with popular media, memory, race, and myth—all of it steeped in controversy and played out within the context of a developing news story.  This’ll keep us history bloggers stocked with material for months.

Country singer, SCV member, and Civil War aficionado Trace Adkins is slated to play Nathan Bedford Forrest.  A quick Google search turns up this item from the Civil War Preservation Trust, reporting that Adkins was also a spokesperson at a CWPT news conference a couple of years ago.  Here’s an excerpt:

Joining Lighthizer at the news conference announcing the report was country music star Trace Adkins, whose great-great-grandfather served in the 31st Louisiana Infantry before being wounded and taken prisoner at Vicksburg, Miss. Adkins, an avid student of history said, ‘I’ve been a Civil War enthusiast all my life. When I visited the battlefield in Vicksburg and stood in a trench where my great-great-granddaddy stood, tears came to my eyes. As a father of five, I believe it is critical that I protect a legacy that belongs not just to my family but to our entire nation.’ 

I haven’t read the graphic novel yet, so I don’t know how it handles the contentious issue of race in the Civil War.  If the film makes it to the screen, it may well turn out to be a complete historical travesty that perpetuates one of the most irritating myths of the entire war. 

On the plus side, though, I think Adkins could do a pretty credible Forrest, with his imposing frame and unaffected drawl.  He’s also survived a nasty gunshot wound, something Forrest also pulled off in 1862.  That’s the acting equivalent of hardcore reenacting, I suppose.

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