The Sons of Confederate Veterans have rustled up some controversy in Mississippi, by proposing a specialty license plate honoring Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, one of the earliest Grand Wizards of the Ku Klux Klan. The group wants the state to issue a series of plates commemorating the 150th anniversary of what it calls the “War Between the States,” with a different design every year from now to 2015. Forrest would be 2014’s plate, according to the AP.
“Seriously?” the state’s NAACP president said when asked about the plates. “Wow.” Forrest is praised by some war buffs as a tactical genius, but others revile him for ordering the 1864 massacre of black Union troops at Fort Pillow, and for his aforementioned Klan activities. Forrest did distance himself from the Klan later in his life, however. “If Christian redemption means anything … he redeemed himself,” says one SCV member. The SCV have had a special plate since 2003, which features a small Confederate flag. (Read more Sons of Confederate Veterans stories.)