Congressman quotes founder of KKK on House floor

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A Texas Republican Congressman invoked a founding Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan in a floor speech he delivered yesterday in support of the Iraq War.

"Nathan Bedford Forrest, successful Confederate general, said it best about winning and victory and the means to do so. He said: 'Get there firstest with the mostest,'" said Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) in a one-minute floor speech at the beginning of Monday's session in the House of Representatives.

He then called on Congress to fund the war in Iraq.

"Congress needs to send the generals the mostest, Mr. Speaker, needs to send equipment and personnel that is needed. Doing this will help our mission in spite of the Congressional Surrender Group's desire to retreat and quit," he added.

Poe left out Forrest's history as a founder of the Ku Klux Klan in addition to fighting on the side of the Confederacy.

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Andrew S Ward - 5/11/2007

As a chronicler of the Fort Pillow Massacre (River Run Red, Viking), I was astonished that the article about Congressman Poe left out several other aspects of Forrest's CV, for in addition to at least co-founding the Ku Klux Klan and "fighting on the side of the Confederacy," Forrest served as a Mississippi constable whose chief job was to chase runaway slaves, led his brothers into the slave trading business in which he made a fortune, and after the war acquired convict laborers to work an ill-fated farm on malkarial President's Island at Memphis, where he was said to have employed the lash. He was also acquitted purely on technical grounds for having killed one of his former slaves, and sired at least one child by a servant who fled his plantation during the war. His was perhaps the most dismal civilian resume of any Confederate general, and his considerable military skills were tainted by the massacre at Fort Pillow his men perpetrated on a Union garrison composed of black and white Tennessee Unionists.

James W Loewen - 5/9/2007

Altho Nathan Bedford Forrest was the first national leader of the KKK, he did not found it. Also, he DID say "firstest," not "fastest," according to my mentor on the matter, MS historian Charles Sallis.