Taylor Swift called for the permanent removal of monuments that “celebrate racist historical figures who did evil things” in her native Tennessee.
“Edward Carmack and Nathan Bedford Forrest were DESPICABLE figures in our state history and should be treated as such,” Swift wrote in a string of tweets Friday.
Swift said of the statue for the one-time Tennessee senator, “Edward Carmack’s statue was sitting in the state Capitol until it was torn down last week in the protests. The state of Tennessee has vowed to replace it. FYI, he was a white supremacist newspaper editor who published pro-lynching editorials and incited the arson of the office of Ida B. Wells (who actually deserves a hero’s statue for her pioneering work in journalism and civil rights). Replacing his statue is a waste of state funds and a waste of an opportunity to do the right thing.”
Then we get to this monstrosity. Nathan Bedford Forrest was a brutal slave trader and the first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan who, during the Civil War, massacred dozens of black Union soldiers in Memphis. https://t.co/n2DiEt9F3P
— Taylor Swift (@taylorswift13) June 12, 2020
Then Swift called out the “monstrosity” known as the Nathan Bedford Forrest Equestrian Statue, a garish 25-foot monument dedicated to the Confederate general and KKK grand wizard.
“Nathan Bedford Forrest was a brutal slave trader and the first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan who, during the Civil War, massacred dozens of black Union soldiers in Memphis,” Swift wrote. “His statue is still standing and July 13th is ‘Nathan Bedford Forrest Day.’ Due to social pressure, the state is trying to overrule this, and Tennesseans might no longer have to stomach it. Fingers crossed.”
Swift also asked the Capitol Commission and the Tennessee Historical Commission “to please consider the implications of how hurtful it would” to continue to protect the statues.
“Taking down statues isn’t going to fix centuries of systemic oppression, violence and hatred that black people have had to endure but it might bring us one small step closer to making ALL Tennesseans and visitors to our state feel safe – not just the white ones,” Swift added.
“We need to retroactively change the status of people who perpetuated hideous patterns of racism from ‘heroes’ to ‘villains.’ And villains don’t deserve statues.”
Swift’s call to action follows the overdue removal — both officially and unofficially — of Confederate-celebrating monuments, from the toppling of a Jefferson Davis statue in Richmond, Virginia to the removal of Confederate soldiers in Birmingham, Alabama, Louisville, Kentucky, Jacksonville, Florida and more southern cities.