Alabama State Rep. Slammed for Celebrating First KKK Grand Wizard’s Birthday
Rep. Will Dismukes, a Republican Alabama state representative, is facing criticism after sharing a Facebook post that celebrated the birthday of Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Confederate General and the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, according to Alabama Daily News.
- The post came two weeks after Forrest’s actual birthday and on the same day that the late civil rights leader Congressman John Lewis “was carried over the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma a final time as part of multiple events in Alabama honoring his life.”
- Dismukes claimed in an interview with WSFA’s Jennifer Horton Monday that he was not aware of “Nathan Bedford Forrest’s connection to the Ku Klux Klan or that civil rights icon and Congressman John Lewis’ funeral procession was taking place a few miles away.”
- Democratic state Representative Chris England said regarding the post:
“This weekend while most people were celebrating the life of John Lewis, a true American Hero, Will Dismukes was in the same city celebrating Nathan Forrest, the first Grand Wizard of the KKK. This should clear up any questions about whose side Will Dismukes is on.”
- Many state Democrats have called upon Dismukes to resign.
- Both sides of the political aisle criticized Dismukes’ post. GOP Alabama House leader Rep. Danny Garrett said, without mentioning Dismukes by name, that he “cannot fathom why anyone in 2020 celebrates the birthday of the 1st KKK Grand Wizard.”
- Dismukes responded to the criticisms in another Facebook post in which he denounced the Klan, saying that the “atrocities and actions they committed are a disgrace to our country.”
- State GOP Party Chairman Terry Lathan was unsatisfied with Dismukes’ explanation, saying in a written statement:
“While Rep. Dismukes has released a statement attempting to clarify his actions as a private citizen attending a celebration of the first Grand Wizard of the Klu Klux Klan, Alabamians hold their elected officials to a high standard of actions. So does the Republican Party. Rep. Dismukes offered no explanation for why he participated in a birthday celebration of Nathan Bedford Forrest. Additionally, I find his statement to be shallow in understanding why his activities are deeply offensive to so many Alabamians. His constituents will be the final decision makers of his political future.”