The SPLC Action Fund Chief of Staff Lecia Brooks released the following statement in response to State Rep. Will Dismukes’ (R-Prattville, Ala.) public celebration of Nathan Bedford Forrest — a Confederate general and leader in the Ku Klux Klan — as Alabamians simultaneously mourned the late Congressman John Lewis.
“It was no accident that State Rep. Will Dismukes chose to blatantly celebrate a brutal slaveholder, Nathan Bedford Forrest, a former Confederate general and first Grand Wizard of the original Ku Klux Klan who spent his life intimidating, dehumanizing and working to keep Black people in chains.
“Rep. Dismukes’ incessant need to romanticize the failed Confederacy even at the expense of the late Congressman John Lewis — one of Alabama’s favorite sons and one of the nation’s revered civil rights icons — is beyond the pale. Dismukes cannot be allowed to play both sides of the fence this time.
“We call on Rep. Dismukes to take accountability for his actions and reconcile with the state’s history. Alabamians deserve elected and government officials who do not embrace hate or glorify individuals like Nathan Bedford Forrest who are synonymous with anti-Black racism. Our state deserves leaders like the late Congressman Lewis, who worked to unite and not divide us.”