License Plates Honoring a KKK Grand Wizard: Where Else, But Mississippi?

Megan Van Schaick

kkk license plateSpecialty license plates have become all the rage across the country, and Mississippi is no exception. For an extra $30 to $50 a year, car owners there can get themselves a plate with a picture of Elvis Presley, a NASCAR design, or even the Confederate battle flag. And soon, Mississippi may be adding a very special state-issued plate to its offerings: one that honors the founder of the KKK.

Let me spell it out for you. That's Ku Klux Klan.


Mississippi's Sons of Confederate Veterans recently proposed five new license plate designs to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Civil War (or, War Between the States, as they like to call it). One of the designs features Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest, who reportedly had a brilliant military mind and was instrumental in the Confederate battle against the North.

Look, I grew up in the South and I can almost see putting the guy on a license plate. But the battles Forrest fought still scar the country today (like the Battle at Fort Pillow, in which he led the massacre of black Union army soldiers). The guy was fighting to preserve slavery. And then, of course, there's that little matter of his being the Grand Wizard of the KKK.

Proponents of the plate say that Forrest denounced the Klan later in life, and his brilliant career shouldn't be overlooked just because of a few minor stains on his record. And, hey, it's all for a good cause. The Sons of Confederate Veterans wants to use the proceeds from sales of the specialty license plates to restore old Confederate flags

The NAACP plans to send a letter to Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour asking that he publicly denounce the license plate and prevent it from being issued. And a citizens group has been formed on Facebook called Mississippians Against the Commemoration of Grand Wizard Nathan Forrest.

What do you think? Should the Sons of Confederate Veterans be allowed to honor Nathan Bedford Forrest?


Image via Mississippians Against the Commemoration of Grand Wizard Nathan Forrest/Facebook

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