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A new monument to KKK leader and Civil War General Nathan Bedford Forrest is going ahead despite controversy.
Locals in Selma, Alabama are upset over plans to restore a monument honoring Civil War Confederate general and former Ku Klux Klan "Grand Wizard" Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, reports NBC News.
The statue was stolen from a 7-foot-tall granite monument at a local cemetary in March where it was moved after protesters demanded it be relocated off public property.
A group known as the Friends of Forrest are replacing the stolen statue and building a larger monument to the General, according to The Birmingham News. United Daughters of the Confederacy are adding a pedestal and fencing to make it harder to steal, Selma City Council President Dr. Cecil Williamson told NBC News.
TV station WCSH 6 reports that locals are still debating Forrest's legacy. "I recommend this man to model his life after," said Todd Kiscaden, with Friends of Forrest told WCSH. "He always led from the front. He did what he said he was going to do. He took care of his people, and his people included both races."
But others remember the General differently, pointing out his pre-war role as a slave trader who also served as the first Grand Wizard of the original Ku Klux Klan.
"Here's a man who killed African-Americans who had surrendered, who were not a threat to anybody, who formed the Ku Klux Klan," Alabama State Senator Hank Sanders, one of the people pushing to block the new monument, told the TV station.
The first monument to Forrest was put up on Selma city property in October 2000 under the permission of the local government, reports NBC News. After a public outcry including mock lynchings, a new city council had the statue moved in 2001 to an acre of land owned by the United Daughters of the Confederacy where it rested until it was stolen in the spring.