Bust of Civil War General Stirs Anger in Alabama

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In Selma, Ala., a battle over what to do with a bronze bust of a contradictory and controversial Civil War general has lasted far longer than the war itself.

Since the monument honoring Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest was unveiled in a city park in 2000, critics have called it a symbol of hate. Vandals littered it with trash, pelted it with cinder blocks and tried to pull it down with ropes before it was moved to a private cemetery. Finally in March, the bust vanished. A historical society called Friends of Forrest has offered a $20,000 reward for its return, and vowed to replace it with a new bust on a taller pedestal, guarded by an iron fence and a surveillance camera.

The fight continued this week as about 20 protesters tried to block construction of the new monument by lying in the path of a concrete truck as crews tried to pour a ramp. Late on Thursday night, the Selma mayor, George Patrick Evans, decided to halt the work until the city attorney could review the plans. Meanwhile, an online petition at Change.org asking the City Council to ban the monument has more than 69,000 signatures....

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