Thursday, February 10, 2011

Mississippi Ponders License Plates Honoring First Grand Wizard of KKK?

All states have vanity plates and specialty plates honoring everything from favorite sports teams to various social causes. In Mississippi, that extends to the Sons of the Confederacy, and they're hoping to have a plate honoring Nathan Bedford Forrest.

If Forrest's name rings a bell, it should.

He was among the key leaders in the Ku Klux Klan and served as its first Grand Wizard.
A new civil war is brewing in Mississippi over a proposal to put a former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard on state license plates.

Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, notorious for leading a massacre of black Union soldiers and leading the KKK in its early days, would appear on the plates in 2014 if the group Sons of Confederate Veterans gets its way.

The organization is sponsoring a series of specialty plates over the next four years to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War.

This year's plate features the last home of Confederate president Jefferson Davis.

The state's chapter of the NAACP strongly criticized the call to honor Forrest, who led several battles in Mississippi during the war.

"He should be viewed in the same light that we view Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden," Derrick Johnson, the president of the NAACP in Mississippi, told The Associated Press, adding that the Klan was a "terrorist group."

"The state of Mississippi should deny any vanity tags which would highlight racial hatred in this state," he said.
He served as the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, and was accused of war crimes for allowing his troops to massacre hundreds of black Union troops and Union loyalist troops after the Battle of Fort Pillow.

He has no place being honored on a license plate.

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