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Nathan Bedford Forrest & The Jubilee of Pole Bearers

 
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btownsend
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Joined: 08 Mar 2007
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PostPosted:     Post subject: Nathan Bedford Forrest & The Jubilee of Pole Bearers Reply with quote

Memphis Daily Avalanche, July 6, 1875,

July 4, 1875 - Memphis, Tennessee -

was invited to speak by , a political and social organization in the post-war era comprised of Black Southerners. Miss Lou Lewis was introduced to General Forrest then presented him with a bouquet of flowers and said: "Mr. Forrest - allow me to present you this bouquet as a token, of reconciliation, an offering of peace and good will."

General Forrest received the flowers with a bow, and replied:

"Miss Lewis, ladies and gentlemen - I accept these flowers as a token of reconciliation between the white and colored races of the South. I accept them more particularly, since they come from a colored lady, for if there is any one on God's great earth who loves the ladies, it is myself.

This is a proud day for me. Having occupied the position I have for thirteen years, and being misunderstood by the colored race, I take this occasion to say that I am your friend. I am here as the representative of the Southern people - one that has been more maligned than any other.

I assure you that every man who was in the Confederate army is your friend. We were born on the same soil, breathe the same air, live in the same land, and why should we not be brothers and sisters.

When the war broke out I believed it to be my duty to fight for my country, and I did so. I came here with the jeers and sneers of a few white people, who did not think it right. I think it is right, and will do all I can to bring about harmony, peace and unity. I want to elevate every man, and to see you take your places in your shops, stores and offices.

I don't propose to say anything about politics, but I want you to do as I do - go to the polls and select the best men to vote for. I feel that you are free men, I am a free man, and we can do as we please. I came here as a friend and whenever I can serve any of you I will do so.

We have one Union, one flag, one country; therefore, let us stand together. Although we differ in color, we should not differ in sentiment.

Many things have been said in regard to myself, and many reports circulated, which may perhaps be believed by some of you, but there are many around me who can contradict them. I have been many times in the heat of battle - oftener, perhaps, than any within the sound of my voice. Men have come to me to ask for quarter, both black and white, and I have shielded them.

Do your duty as citizens, and if any are oppressed, I will be your friend. I thank you for the flowers, and assure you that I am with you in heart and hand "'
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Another among many on the Internet

Nathan Bedford Forrest And Racial Reconciliation
http://the-american-catholic.com/2010/08/06/nathan-bedford-forrest-and-racial-reconciliation/
"After the speech Forrest thanked Miss Lewis for the bouquet and kissed her on the cheek. This type of familiarity between the races in public was almost unheard of at the time."
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