Restricted Forrest's Grave spray painted.

Joined
May 8, 2015
Location
Pittsburgh, PA
I suppose that NBF's overly exuberant memorial has been there long enough that it has become a part of local history worthy of preservation. (After all, the gravesite itself, just like the story of NBF's life, helps tell the larger story of where we have been as a society. Without that insight, we can't really know where we are now.) To me, though, the real tragedy of this incident is not that the outsized monument to a controversial CW figure has been defaced, which is lamentable, but that that angry act by an unidentified party has allowed the issue of respect for the dead to temporarily eclipse, in some quarters, the far more important issue of respect for the living. I refer here to the "Black Lives Matter" protest, and I hope I have not violated any website rules by giving that protest a name. (The "protest" was mentioned earlier on this same thread.)

Valor and skill in the pursuit of one's convictions does not, in my view, alone suffice to justify a public glorification of an individual, such as a romantic equestrian stone statue. This is especially so when either the cause for which the individual fought, however valiantly, is deeply problematic, or his behavior during (and after) that fight, was less than meritorious and honorable.

It may be appropriate to compare NBF's ostentatious grave marker to that of John Brown's humble, rough-hewn stone, shown here. Like NBF, Brown was a zealot in his cause who exhibited reckless bravery and disregard for his own survival (or even that of his several sons!) Also like NBF, Brown took up arms against the federal government. And like NBF, there is much to question, at least to my mind, about the methods JB chose to pursue his goals. Thus, despite my vastly greater sympathy for Brown's cause than for NBF's, I find myself pleased by the simple, unpretentious nature of Brown's final resting place. For somewhat the same reasons, I am uncomfortable with the nature of NBF's grave. I hope only that there is an informative historical plaque nearby JB's grave that explains who the man was and how his life affected the nation without either glorifying nor vilifying him. I would wish the same for NBF's grave. Such a plaque might go a ways toward tempering the overly celebratory nature of the site, and perhaps diffusing some of the acrimony it generates.
 

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tdftdf

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Aug 14, 2015
Location
washington, dc
This is an example of respectful tokens left at a gravesite (Lexington,va, immediately outside General Lee's office):
 

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Joined
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Location
Pittsburgh, PA
Sure. But that does not belong in a place of burial.

And the story should say the truth fact: John Brown was sentenced to death by the United States of America because he was found guilty of the murder of 5 people, of treason, and of conspiracy.

And so it should! As you say, those are facts. Did I say anywhere that I admired Brown? I said only that I had more sympathy for his cause than NBF's. But has it dawned on you that anyone who served as an officer in the CSA could have been found guilty of treason, if not conspiracy too, if the federal authorities had pursued vengeance? (Fortunately, they didn't.) And JB murdered only 5 people you say? Let's not get into body counts unless you are prepared to absolve NBF completely of any role at all in the Ft. Pillow massacre.

What do you suppose a plaque next to NBF's grave would say if we were being truthful and "nonrevisionist?" Yes, I've been all over the NBF threads here and the long list of "well, we don't really know for sure if he did ....," and even the most charitable, reasonable interpretation of his life ends up concluding that the guy was an unrepentant oppressor, slave driver and slave trader. I don't buy that he played no substantive roll at all in the Klan, or that he actually disapproved of its intimidation methods, or that he actually meant to disband it, either. And his alleged late-in-life transformation was much more than a day late and a dollar short, even if real.

The point of my previous post was that I don't care to see either of these two men lionized, even in death. Unlike Brown's, Forrest's resting place is more than just a mere "grave." (The statue of Brown you showed is somewhere else, and I don't like it, either.) Forrest's grave is a garish, misguided tribute to someone who deserves none. It strikes me as an ostentatious, in-your-face affirmation of the causes in which NBF believed and for which he fought. With many other confederate officers, one could believe they merely faced a tragic choice between loyalty to state and family or that to country. In NBF's case, the slave trade itself, or its closest remaining facsimile, were his livelihood both before and after the war, so that excuse just doesn't wash. Brown's company might just be too good for NBF.
 
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Joined
May 8, 2015
Location
Pittsburgh, PA
My point is that the United States Justice system found Brown a Criminal, in the same manner that the Lincoln assassination conspirators were, and dealt with the same way. Wanna build memorials to them too?

Forrest was never committed a crime or sentenced to anything according to the US Justice system.

Not a Forrest fan here, by any means, but let's not compare apples and pineapples. About that "treason" thing, people throwing around for CSA officers: a. Forrest was never part of the US Army and never swore any oaths (unlike USMA graduates, like Lee, Davis etc.) His allegiance was with his State of TN. b. He was never accused of treason. Might be guilty of things in people's minds, but the government never accused him. Thankfully, there is a justice system that gives justice, instead of people's minds...

Convicted Criminal. This is what Brown was. Not much different than Charles Manson (he had an agenda that someone found noble too, correct? Let's build him a statue; how about David Koresh and Timothy McVeigh? Sure they had supporters and fans)

Yep. One day before Ft. Sumter, someone who took up arms against the federal government and/or killed people in pursuit of his objectives was a common criminal, or maybe even a "terrorist," regardless of his motives. One day after Sumter, he might be a local patriot, maybe even a hero, but no worse than a "rebel." Certainly not a "traitor." There's certainly no room for interpretation or differing opinions there. It's all just black and white (double entendre noted).

Actually, as discussed on another thread, you don't even need to be an officer in the US armed forces to commit treason. Any person owing allegiance to the United States, such as any US citizen, who makes war on the United States, or gives aid and comfort to those doing so, is guilty of treason. Confederate officers were never charged with treason after the war, because President Andrew Johnson wisely issued a blanket amnesty. That amnesty angered a lot of people. Because of that amnesty, the courts never got to rule on whether the acts of confederate officers were treasonous!

By the way, I'm the guy who doesn't want to see statues to either NBF or Brown erected, remember? So where did all of your random nonsense about Booth, Koresh and McVeigh come from? You have created an imaginary strawman with imaginary positions that you could actually knock down. Why don't you create a second, imaginary persona here, a real punching bag, so you can put any words you want in his mouth, and really work him over right?
 
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Nathanb1

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I'd note that neither John Brown nor the General designed their respective memorials--and they haven't, to my knowledge, critiqued them. I am not a fan of Brown, but I'd no more see his monument damaged than Forrest's.

(The Davis statue, however.................hm...............)

Gotcha! Just joking!

So......exuberant, humble, or somewhere in between. As someone said at the seminar last week---it's saddening to see a lack of respect for individuals alive or dead, and to know there is a gap that cannot be bridged by learning history (and I mean the real history) and trying to see different points of view. Phooey.
 
Joined
May 8, 2015
Location
Pittsburgh, PA
I'd note that neither John Brown nor the General designed their respective memorials--and they haven't, to my knowledge, critiqued them. I am not a fan of Brown, but I'd no more see his monument damaged than Forrest's.

(The Davis statue, however.................hm...............)

Gotcha! Just joking!

So......exuberant, humble, or somewhere in between. As someone said at the seminar last week---it's saddening to see a lack of respect for individuals alive or dead, and to know there is a gap that cannot be bridged by learning history (and I mean the real history) and trying to see different points of view. Phooey.

Hi Nathan, I don't want to see anyone deface a memorial, either, and I have expressed that view consistently here. If the statue of NBF were to be removed, which would be a different thing, then that should be a decision of the community arrived at by due process of law, and then executed in a dignified manner. (However, state statutes may hinder that possibility.) As I had expressed earlier, there would be an up side to leaving it just where it is, just to let everyone know how folks used to think. (I might add something else instead of taking something away, to provide perspective, though.)

And yes, neither NBF or JB designed their memorials. JB's memorial looks more thrown together than "designed" at all, which is fine with me. Clearly though, whoever designed NBF's memorial had an agenda to glorify the man, and thus, whether intentionally or not, it also glorifies the causes with which he was associated. Given what those causes were, and the current composition of the surrounding community, I think you can understand why it generates heat. Frankly, I wouldn't want that statue in my neighborhood, either. I would consider it an embarrassment. However, I find it hard to believe that defacing that statue advanced the vandal's agenda, if he even had one.
 
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RebYell64

Corporal
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Apr 24, 2015
Location
Georgia
Disrespecting any grave, regardless of the cause they supported, is a terrible thing to do. What compels anyone to do such a thing is beyond me.
 

diane

Retired User
Joined
Jan 23, 2010
Location
State of Jefferson
Thanks, JPK, for the breath of sanity! :thumbsup:

Just to be flat out blunt, it's ridiculous in the extreme to even mention Charlie eff-in'-psycho Manson in regard to either John Brown or N B Forrest. John Brown was in a category more closely related to Stonewall Jackson - both believed they were on a mission from God. Forrest was completely out of that area. He believed the Lincoln administration was going to destroy slavery, which was his bread and butter, and this was a matter worth fighting about. His story is deliberately stopped about there because to continue it would be to make him useless as an illustration of the evils of the ante-bellum South. Lee is rightly lauded for his efforts to heal the Southern people after the war...but Forrest one-upped him by acknowledging the blacks were Southerners who needed healing as well. Lee never recognized the freed slaves as Southerners or equal to himself. Forrest did.

The statues, etc. I would cheerfully take a hammer to are the new, rather faddish, up-yours ones. When a thing is put in a place where it will certainly be offensive to a large number of people then defended with the chant of my heritage, it falls into the unsavory category of spite art. Or, sometimes, the other side will put up their statue...and we have the category of tit-for-tat art. :rolleyes: :O o: These reasons are far, far different than the reasons the people who worked hard to raise money and fix up a park. Forrest, if asked, would have said thanks, all, that's great but no thanks. Me and the missus are fine where we are. Spend that money on the disabled veterans! (That was an important cause for him after the war.)
 

chellers

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That was under the state's jurisdiction. Does not this new issue fall within the city/county jurisdiction?
I don't know, just seeking information.
 
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