Newswire : Tennessee Governor honors Nathan Bedford Forrest, a founder of the Klu Klux Klan

By Frederick H. Lowe, BlackmansStreet.Today

Painting of Civil War battle of Fort Pillow, where Black troops were massacred; Photo of Nathan Bedford Forrest

Tennessee Governor Bill Lee proclaimed Saturday, July 13, a day of honoring Nathan Bedford Forrest the Confederate General who ordered the massacre of Black Union troops who tried to surrender during Civil War battle at Fort Pillow.

Confederate soldiers under Forrest’s command killed an estimated 200 to 300 Black soldiers, many of them former slaves, during the battle of Fort Pillow in Henning, Tennessee, which occurred on April 12, 1864. The Union troops surrendered and should have been taken as prisoners of war, but Forrest ordered all them killed.

The massacre angered the North, and Northern politicians refused to participate in further prisoner exchanges. Forrest claimed his men didn’t do anything wrong.

At the end of the Civil War, after Lee’s surrender at Appomattox, VA, General Forrest had his troops camped in the Black Belt areas of west Alabama. There is a monument commemorating the dissolution of the Confederate troops in Gainesville, Alabama (Sumter County) several months after Lee’s surrender.

After the Civil War, Forrest returned to his home in Pulaski, Tennesse and organized the Klu Klux Klan. From 1867 to 1869, Forrest was the first Grand Wizard of the Klu Klux Klan, a white terrorist organization, opposed to reconstruction.

Forrest died in 1877, but his name surfaced again in the 1994 hit movie “Forrest Gump,” starring Tom Hanks and Sally Field. Field, who played Hanks’ mother, named him in honor of Nathan Bedford Forrest.

Gov. Lee’s proclamation makes no mention of Forrest’s key role in the creation of the KKK, nor does the declaration make mention of the fact that Forrest was a traitor who betrayed his country in the name of racism.

Instead, the proclamation only refers to Forrest as a “recognized military figure in American history and a native Tennessean.” Gov. Lee claimed he signed the proclamation honoring Forrest, who was also a slaveholder, because state law required him to.

A statue of Forrest, flanked by Confederate Battle Flags, is located in Nashville, the state capital.

Newswire :Southern Poverty Law Center fires co-founder Morris Dees

By Frederick H. Lowe,

Morris Dees

( – The Southern Poverty Law Center has announced that Morris Dees, the organization’s co-founder, has been fired, but officials of the Montgomery, Alabama-based organization did not
explain why.

“As a civil rights organization, the SPLC is committed to ensuring that the conduct of our staff reflects the mission of the organization and the values we hope to instill in the world,” said Richard Cohen, SPLC’s president. “When one of our own fails to meet those standards, no matter his or her role in the organization, we take it seriously and must take appropriate action.”
Dees’ biography has been removed from the organization’s website.

Dees, who is 82, co-founded SPLC in 1971 and was the chief litigator.

The organization tracks hate groups and regularly publishes “Intelligence Report.”
The issue, which was published in Spring of 2019 was titled “The Year in Hate: Rage Against Change: White Supremacy Flourishes amid Fears of Immigration and the Nation’s Shifting Demographics.”

The magazine published articles, photographs, and maps where most hate groups operate. The SPLC blew the whistle on the rise of white hate groups that were often ignored by law enforcement officials because some of their employees were members of the hate groups.

The groups listed were the Klu Klux Klan, Neo-Nazis, Skinheads, white nationalists. Under his leadership, the SPLC bankrupted the nation’s largest Klan organization.

The SPLC also said Chicago-based Nation of Islam was involved in hate speech.
“The black nationalist movement is a reaction to centuries of institutionalized
white supremacy in America,” SPLC explained.

Dees could not be reached for comment, but a series of articles in Montgomery Advertiser newspaper reported Dees was more concerned with raising money than fighting hate. In 2017, SPLC had $450 million in assets according to federal tax records.
SPLC’s black employees also charged that Dees was a racist.

Newswire : Alabama Poor Peoples Campaign: State of Alabama drops charges against protestors for defacing Confederate monuments in Montgomery


Pictured : Chalk on monument  and Jefferson Davis monument

Rev. Carolyn Foster, Alabama Coordinator of the Poor People Campaign, A National Call for Moral Revival announced that the State of Alabama dismissed charges against 17 activists on the eve of their trial for tampering with and defacing Confederate monuments in Montgomery Alabama. “We are elated at this great victory for protestors arrested in weeks 4 and 6 of our forty days of moral witness of the Poor People’s Campaign in June of this year,” said Foster. Eight protestors were arrested on June 4, 2018 for tampering with the statue of Jefferson Davis, in front of the State Capitol in Montgomery, Alabama. After the Poor People Campaign held a rally in support of Medicaid expansion on the steps of the State Capitol, the eight protestors threw a sheet over the statue to symbolize Davis’ connection to the Klu Klux Klan. The protestors then squeezed catsup on to the sheet and statue to symbolize the bloodshed caused by the Confederacy, white supremacy and continuing racism. Monday, June 4 was the first business day after Jefferson Davis’ birthday on June 3. The State of Alabama is the last remaining state that observes Davis’ birthday as a state holiday, so state offices were closed that day. Two weeks later on June 18, nine protestors were arrested for throwing colored chalk on the Confederate Memorial, also on the grounds of the State Capitol. The 17 protestors were part of over 3,000 people arrested nationwide for peaceful civil disobedience in connection with the Poor Peoples Campaign. The group was scheduled to go to trail on Monday. October 1, 2018 in Montgomery Circuit Court before the cases were abruptly dismissed by state prosecutors on Friday. The group was preparing a classic “free speech defense” of their actions before the dismissal of charges made it unnecessary. Rev. Foster concluded her press release by saying, :”We must continue to work for equity and justice. There are a number of ways to become actively involved and stand up against systemic racism, systemic poverty, militarism, ecological devastation and confront today’s distorted moral narrative. Somebody’s hurting our brothers and sisters and we won’t be silent anymore !” Contact the Alabama Poor People Campaign for more information.

Newswire: 150th anniversary of the 14th Amendment that declared Blacks U.S. citizens

By Frederick H. Lowe
Special to the Trice Edney News Wire from

( — July 9 marks the 150th anniversary of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, granting American citizenship to former Black slaves following the Civil War.
The 14th Amendment, one of the Reconstruction Amendments, was adopted on July 9, 1868, after being bitterly opposed by states that were former members of the Confederacy. The states were forced to ratify the amendment to regain representation in Congress.
The amendment’s Citizenship Clause nullified the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1857 decision concerning Dred Scott v. Sanford, which the court ruled that Americans who descended from African slaves could not be United States citizens.
The Amendment also prohibits states from denying persons equal protection of the laws or depriving them of life, liberty or property without due process of the law. The first section of the Amendment is the most-litigated forming the basis of U.S. Supreme Court decisions such as 1954’s Brown v Board of Education and Roe v. Wade in 1973.
The Reconstruction Amendments are the Thirteenth, Fourteenth, and Fifteenth amendments to the United States Constitution
They were adopted between 1865 and 1870, the five years immediately following the Civil War. The 13th Amendment abolished slavery and the 15th Amendment made it illegal to deny individuals the right to vote because of their race.
In the South, the 14th Amendment made one of its biggest legal impacts.
Members of the Klu Klux Klan in cahoots with a sheriff’s deputy shot to death civil rights workers Andrew Goodman, James Chaney and Michael Schwerner and buried their bodies in an earthen dam in Nashoba County, Mississippi. The murders occurred in 1964. While the FBI hunted for Goodman, Chaney and Schwerner, they found the remains of eight other Black men who the Klu Klux Klan had murdered. Only two of the Black men were identified.
U.S. District Court Judge William Harold Cox, a known segregationist, who sat on the court in the Southern District of Mississippi, dismissed 241 charges against the 18 alleged killers. Cox, who was appointed a federal judge by President John F. Kennedy, ruled that Sections 241 (conspiracy against rights) and 242 (deprivation under color of law) of the federal code were enacted to protect federal rights not the rights given by states to their citizens.
The case then went to the U.S. Supreme Court. In majority opinion written by Associate Justice Abe Fortas, he ruled that the indictment against the mob must stand because they denied Schwerner, Goodman and Chaney due process guaranteed under 14th Amendment.
A jury found eight members of Klu Klux Klan guilty of the murders. This was the first case in which whites who participated in what the law described as a lynching were convicted and sentenced to prison.
This article originally published in the June 25, 2018 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper.