News re­ports of the time show that Nathan Bed­ford For­rest mon­u­ment in Mem­phis has been racist pro­pa­ganda since the day it was un­veiled

The Commercial Appeal - - Front Page -

The news­pa­per re­ported the air “was soft and throaty and South­ern” that Mon­day af­ter­noon in May 1904, Mem­phis in May, at the un­veil­ing and ded­i­ca­tion of a bronze and mar­ble mon­u­ment to “the South’s great hero.”

The af­ter­noon be­gan with a pa­rade as “old veter­ans in gray” marched east down Mon­roe be­hind the Stars and Stripes and the Stars and Bars, be­hind mil­i­tary bands play­ing “Dixie”.

They marched with ladies of the Con­fed­er­ate Me­mo­rial As­so­ci­a­tion and Mounted Sons of Con­fed­er­ate Veter­ans, and with car­riages car­ry­ing the son, grand­son and other de­scen­dants of “that dash­ing and in­trepid war­rior.”

Tens of thou­sands of Mem­phi­ans and “cit­i­zens from seven states” lined the pa­rade route and filled the park at Union and Manas­sas, sur­round­ing the grand­stand, as­sem­bled dig­ni­taries and the shrouded 21-1/2-foot tall statue.

As an eight-year-old girl re­moved the Con­fed­er­ate col­ors that cov­ered the statue, re­veal­ing “the heroic fig­ure of the wizard of the sad­dle, a vast crowd gave voice to loud cheers.”

The bishop asked for God’s bless­ing, “and in thy name we ded­i­cate this mon­u­ment to the mem­ory of our great, our hon­ored dead” and his “in­vin­ci­ble courage, un­selfish hero­ism and ex­alted pa­tri­o­tism.”

The gen­eral, the mayor, and the U.S. se­na­tor praised his honor and valor, his chivalry and char­ity, his de­vo­tion to his wid­owed

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