Nathan Bedford Forrest – Born Again!
Nathan Bedford Forrest, best known as a Confederate General during the American Civil War is regarded by many military historians as that conflict’s most innovative and successful cavalry tactician. His exploits during the war earned him the nicknames the “Wizard of the Saddle” and “That Devil Forrest.” However, Forrest’s wartime actions were not without controversy. He was accused of war crimes at the Battle of Fort Pillow for having led Confederate soldiers in an alleged massacre of unarmed black Union troops. The accusation was later rejected by an 1871 Congressional investigation. He was also alleged to have participated in the founding of the Ku Klux Klan.
Forrest went through a dramatic change during the last three years of his life after converting to Christianity. Forrest told the Reverend Stainback, “Sir, your sermon had removed the last prop from under me. I am the fool that built on the sand; I am a poor miserable sinner.” The next night he prayed with Stainback and met the living Savior. “I told Stainback that I was satisfied, and all is right. I have put my trust in my Redeemer.”
Forrest views about African-Americans also began to change. On July 5, 1875, he was invited to be the honored guest speaker at the Independent Order of Pole-Bearers Association, a civil rights group made up of black people in the Memphis area. A young black lady, Lou Lewis who was the daughter of the Pole Bearers’ officer presented Forrest with a bouquet of flowers before he spoke.
His speech was as follows: “‘Ladies and Gentlemen I accept the flowers as a memento of reconciliation between the white and colored races of the southern states. I accept it more particularly as it comes from a colored lady, for if there is any one on God’s earth who loves the ladies I believe it is myself.’ (Immense applause and laughter.)
‘I came here with the jeers of some white people, who think that I am doing wrong. I believe I can exert some influence, and do much to assist the people in strengthening fraternal relations, and shall do all in my power to elevate every man to depress none.’ (Applause.)
‘I want to elevate you to take positions in law offices, in stores, on farms, and wherever you are capable of going. I have not said anything about politics today. I don’t propose to say anything about politics.’
‘You have a right to elect whom you please; vote for the man you think best, and I think, when that is done, you and I are freemen. Do as you consider right and honest in electing men for office.’
‘I did not come here to make you a long speech, although invited to do so by you. I am not much of a speaker, and my business prevented me from preparing myself. I came to meet you as friends, and welcome you to the white people.’
I want you to come nearer to us. When I can serve you I will do so. We have but one flag, one country; let us stand together. We may differ in color, but not in sentiment.’
‘Many things have been said about me which are wrong, and which white and black persons here, who stood by me through the war, can contradict.’
‘Go to work, be industrious, live honestly and act truly, and when you are oppressed I’ll come to your relief. I thank you, ladies and gentlemen, for this opportunity you have afforded me to be with you, and to assure you that I am with you in heart and in hand.’” (Prolonged applause.)
This print features a colorized profile of Forrest taken from an original photo of Forrest, altered into civilian attire and placed in of a modern photo of the upstairs bedroom of his boyhood home in Chapel Hill, Tennessee.
About Your Print:
Your print comes with a certificate of authenticity and was made by a commercial printing service using archival Kodak Professional Endura Premier Lustre paper. My signature on the back is signed with an archival acid free ink pen and the blue logo stamp uses archival acid free ink.
Your print will last as long, if not longer than silver halide photographs under the same conditions. If you display your print in a frame under glass or acrylic board, try to avoid hanging in direct sunlight as the color may fade over time, as do traditional photographs.
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