“#Alabama lawmaker urged to resign over ‘great time’ at event honoring KKK leader”
July 27, 2020 | 6:09pm
In a since-deleted post, Rep. Will Dismukes, R-Prattvile, said Sunday on Facebook that he enjoyed speaking at an event at Fort Dixie in Selma, where he gave an invocation for Nathan Bedford Forrest’s annual birthday celebration.
“Always a great time and some sure enough good eating!!” Dismukes wrote.
The post was quickly denounced by the chairman of the Alabama Democratic Party, who called it “totally insensitive,” the Montgomery Advertiser reports.
“It should not be where the state of Alabama is in 2020, where one of our elected officials in Alabama celebrates someone like that,” Rep. Christopher England, D-Tuscaloosa, said.
Democrats in the state also noted that Dismukes spent his weekend honoring Forrest rather than the late Rep. John Lewis, a “giant” of the Civil Rights movement.
Rep. Will Dismukes (R—1865) spent today honoring a KKK founder rather than a giant of the Civil Rights Movement. Both events were in Selma, but there really aren’t two sides to this.
Want fewer folks like Will Dismukes getting elected in Alabama? Help us: https://t.co/e9cnBpQ5Eq pic.twitter.com/pIbtq3gs79
— Alabama Democrats (@aldemocrats) July 26, 2020
“Both events were in Selma, but there really aren’t two sides to this,” party officials tweeted late Sunday.
Prior to the Civil War, Forrest sold men, women and children before leading Confederate troops in the massacre of 300 black soldiers during the Battle of Fort Pillow in Tennessee in April 1864. Forrest later joined the KKK and became its most prominent early leader, the Montgomery Advertiser reports.
Rep. Danny Garrett, R-Trussville, said on Twitter Sunday he couldn’t understand why anyone “in 2020 celebrates the birthday of the 1st KKK Grand wizard.” Garrett later said Dismukes’ remarks don’t represent that of Republican lawmakers in the state’s legislature, the Montgomery Advertiser reports.
“Where it goes from here, I have no idea,” Garrett told the newspaper.
The Alabama Democratic Party also called on Dismukes to resign in late June after he served as a chaplain for the Prattville Dragoons, a chapter of the Sons of the Confederacy, the newspaper reports.
Dismukes, meanwhile, said in a lengthy Facebook post Monday that his previous post “was in no way related to disrespecting” Lewis, who died earlier this month from pancreatic cancer at the age of 80. Lewis’ body will lie in state Monday and Tuesday in the rotunda of the US Capitol.
“That wasn’t even a thought in my mind,” Dismukes wrote. “That is not who I am as a person.”
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