Tag Archives: Nathan B. Forrest

Alabama’s Civil War Memory

Selma, Alabama (1965)

I guess we should have seen this coming from a mile away.  In the wake of heated protests from their loyal fans Lynyrd Skynyrd has decided that they will fly the Confederate flag at their concerts.  And just in case you still question their commitment to the flag’s history and meaning rest assured:

Myself, the past members and the present members (that are from the South), are all extremely proud of our heritage and being from the South. We know what the Dixie flag represents and its heritage; the Civil War was fought over States rights.” — Gary Rossington

I guess a southern man does need him around…at least to buy those records.

In other news, the Selma City Council has voted to halt the construction of a monument to Nathan Bedford Forrest until it can be determined who owns the land on which it is to be placed.

And so it goes.

 

A Massacre of Biblical Proportions

Listening to these two knuckleheads talk Civil War history on a recent show is both entertaining and disturbing at the same time. By the way, David Barton’s new book on Thomas Jefferson was recently voted “Least Credible Book in Print” at the History News Network.  I have no doubt that the recognition is well deserved.

 

Confederate Dreaming With Jack Kershaw

This is for those of you who are interested in the mind and imagination of Jack Kershaw, who is responsible for the Nathan Bedford Forrest equestrian memorial in Tennessee.  This is commonly referred to as the ugliest Civil War monument ever erected.  His interpretation of Forrest, which you can hear in the video, is is truly disturbing, but no doubt reflective of an older generation.

 

A Sesquicentennial From the Bottom-Up

The following video was uploaded to YouTube a couple of days ago.  I know nothing about the woman who produced it, but I think it is a wonderful example of how the Web2.0 world has shaped the Civil War Sesquicentennial.  As opposed to the centennial years, when relatively few historical institutions exercised control over how the nation remembered the war, the sesquicentennial’s narrative is being written one blog post, one video, and one tweet at a time. Much of what is being produced, including this video, defies easy categorization. Watch this through to the end.

 

We Are a Whole New Generation

Yesterday I posted a video on the Civil War Memory Facebook page about the recent controversy in Jacksonville, Florida concerning Nathan Bedford Forrest High School.  The short documentary tells the story of the steps that one local community college professor took to change the name of the school.  The center of the story is Professor Steve Stoll, who encouraged a couple of his students to take on the project to fulfill a class requirement.  While Stoll claims that at first he simply threw out the idea of doing a survey of the community on the possibility of a name change, his reaction following the school board’s vote [14:30] suggests that he had much more invested in this project.  It became more of a personal crusade as opposed to an academic exercise and one which I find troubling.

The documentary provides more evidence that we are moving beyond the old battle lines of north v. south and white v. black regarding our attitudes toward the symbolism of the Civil War.  Even though the school community is predominantly black they voted not to change the name, not because they  revere Forrest, but because they have other things on their mind [[9:30].  In contrast to Stoll’s agenda and the vote taking by the school board the perspective of the students suggests that these kids are not internalizing these old feuds as part of their own self-identity.  In short, memory of Forrest is a battle ground that engages their parents and grandparents.  The kids have moved on.  [This is an aspect of the story involving the black college students in South Carolina who flew at Confederate battle flag in his window that was missed as well in all the coverage.]

These stories are neither defeats for those who are still fighting these battles nor are they victories for those who style themselves as defenders of Southern Heritage; rather, they point to the extent to which each generation re-negotiates its relationship to the past.