Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour has come under fire for failing to condemn efforts by the state's Sons of Confederate Veterans to institute a license plate commemorating Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest. Historically, Forrest has been both hailed for his military brilliance and condemned for his brutality both during and after the Civil War. The general infamously slaughtered black Union troops that surrendered at Fort Pillow Tennessee in 1864 and became a Grand Wizard in the KKK after the war ended.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans, meanwhile, say that the license plate is meant to commemorate those who lost their lives in the war and that a number of black soldiers served under the general during his command.
Those words apparently aren't doing much to console members of the NAACP, however, who argue that Forrest should be counted among terrorists like Osama bin Laden for his heavy involvement in the KKK.
Mississippi currently offers a license plate to commemorate the Civil War, and funds from those plates go toward maintaining the state's collection of Confederate battle flags and restoring Beauvoir – the final home of Confederate President Jefferson Davis. The current plate features the estate, while future designs include everything from the Battle of Corinth to the Siege of Vicksburg. The Forrest commemorative license plate is slated to debut in 2014.
Governor Barbour, meanwhile, says that he isn't interest in denouncing people or the license plate proposal, even though he feels there's little chance of the plate making its way into production.
[Sources: The Commercial Appeal, The New York Daily News, Politico]