"We Don't Have Enough Contempt for NBF"

Allie

Captain
Joined
Dec 17, 2014
The article is a masterpiece of taking situations out of context - for example, the 1866 killing of Thomas Edwards began with Edwards beating his wife, and then going for a knife when Forrest objected. Ironically, Forrest expected the black community to side with him afterward, since the dead man was notoriously cruel, but like many victims of domestic abuse, the wife sided with her husband.
 

DRW

Sergeant
Joined
Feb 7, 2014
Location
New York
I'm not an NBF scholar. Are you all "disappointed" or feel the author "could do better" because (i) NBF's record on race is worse than described in the article or (ii) you think it's better and he's not deserving of contempt?
 

diane

Retired User
Joined
Jan 23, 2010
Location
State of Jefferson
I'm not an NBF scholar. Are you all "disappointed" or feel the author "could do better" because (i) NBF's record on race is worse than described in the article or (ii) you think it's better and he's not deserving of contempt?

The author could do better by not skewing facts. The Frederick Douglass daughter, for instance. That was a story that popped up, possibly Forrest was behind it for various political reasons, but neither of Douglass' daughters were anywhere near where anybody could catch them. He was not in the business of selling likely girls to men who would rape them. If he was, I wonder why so many women who were in that exact situation applied to him to buy them. He could have made a lot of money doing that - breeding stock was a lucrative side business for many slave dealers - but he didn't.

There's nothing too wrong with the basic facts - didn't see anything outright untrue except the above - but it's the deliberate slanting of them to the point of making them inaccurate and only tools to promote a certain viewpoint. It's no different than using the basic facts to slant it a positive way. Both are a departure from the truth.
 

Allie

Captain
Joined
Dec 17, 2014
I'm not an NBF scholar. Are you all "disappointed" or feel the author "could do better" because (i) NBF's record on race is worse than described in the article or (ii) you think it's better and he's not deserving of contempt?
I think the basic premise that Forrest did a whole lot of bad things to black people which were as bad if not worse than his unprovable connections with the klan is sound. The specific incidents related are not related in an honest way but in a misleading one. However, I think it's valid to say that Forrest was for most of his life a pretty bad man who did bad things. I think condemning him as a result is problematic - by modern standards, almost every white person of that era was pretty bad.

The second premise, that Forrest was a man of action and that we should hold men of action in contempt, I don't agree with at all.
 

diane

Retired User
Joined
Jan 23, 2010
Location
State of Jefferson
I think the basic premise that Forrest did a whole lot of bad things to black people which were as bad if not worse than his unprovable connections with the klan is sound. The specific incidents related are not related in an honest way but in a misleading one. However, I think it's valid to say that Forrest was for most of his life a pretty bad man who did bad things. I think condemning him as a result is problematic - by modern standards, almost every white person of that era was pretty bad.

The second premise, that Forrest was a man of action and that we should hold men of action in contempt, I don't agree with at all.

Some of his former slaves were interviewed after the war and most of them summed it up rather succinctly as 'could have been worse'! That's about as good as it got for slaves. There's just no such thing as a 'kindly' slave trader.
 

ole

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Retired Moderator
Joined
Feb 20, 2005
Location
Near Kankakee
By today's standards, he was both jerk and an example of personal, successful endeavor.

Born dirt poor, he managed, by personal effort, to become a fixture in history. That he did so through trading in slaves is now, as it was then, not nice.

With BillO, I cannot find room for contempt.
 

hrobalabama

First Sergeant
Joined
Aug 12, 2014
Location
Andalusia, AL
Why doesn't someone come up with some post war accounts of NBF and his relation with blacks?
He had redeemed himself after the war and was respected in the black community of Memphis and its environs. Maybe the good don't outweigh the bad. But perhaps it don't in our own lives as well. All that aside, Forrest was a military genius.
The best cavalryman of the war.
 

Rebforever

Lt. Colonel
Joined
Oct 26, 2012
Why doesn't someone come up with some post war accounts of NBF and his relation with blacks?
He had redeemed himself after the war and was respected in the black community of Memphis and its environs. Maybe the good don't outweigh the bad. But perhaps it don't in our own lives as well. All that aside, Forrest was a military genius.
The best cavalryman of the war.
Good does not out way the bad press from those who know NOTHING about one of America'a greatest soldiers!!
 

DRW

Sergeant
Joined
Feb 7, 2014
Location
New York
While on the subject of the Klan Was not Ohio, Indiana and Maryland, the one, two, three states with the highest klan membership?

You are thinking of the second KKK of the 1920s which had formal chapters all across the country and was particularly strong in Indiana. This is a very different group from the Klan-type insurgency cells which popped up over the South during Reconstruction under a variety of names with little, if any, linkage to each other.
 

BillO

Captain
Joined
Feb 2, 2010
Location
Quinton, VA.
You are thinking of the second KKK of the 1920s which had formal chapters all across the country and was particularly strong in Indiana. This is a very different group from the Klan-type insurgency cells which popped up over the South during Reconstruction under a variety of names with little, if any, linkage to each other.
So you do know a little something about the Klan, good for you. The first bunch were for the most part, vigilante and the second bunch mostly a homegrown version of the Nazis.
 

diane

Retired User
Joined
Jan 23, 2010
Location
State of Jefferson
Why doesn't someone come up with some post war accounts of NBF and his relation with blacks?
He had redeemed himself after the war and was respected in the black community of Memphis and its environs. Maybe the good don't outweigh the bad. But perhaps it don't in our own lives as well. All that aside, Forrest was a military genius.
The best cavalryman of the war.

Hauling on the beam in your own eye can apply to more folks than Forrest. I accept him for what he was. That's kind of a Popeye position - I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam! It's true, though. He didn't have a pitchfork and horns, nor did he have a halo and a harp. There's a considerable amount to dislike and hold in contempt - Forrest, before the war, was a prideful and arrogant man. After, he was angry and didn't exactly get rid of the bad feelings he had advised his men to dispose of. Finally, he did accept defeat, did get rid of the anger, did change and realize he had not been as good a man as he thought he had been. There's a lot to admire in just that.
 
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