Statue Of Confederate General and KKK Grand Wizard Nathan Bedford Forrest Doused In Pink Paint

Members of the Fraternal White Knights of the Ku Klux Klan participate in the 11th annual Nathan Bedford Forrest Birthday March in Pulaski, Tennessee, on July 11, 2009. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Confederate general and the first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, off Interstate 65 in Nashville was doused in pink paint on Tuesday night or early Wednesday morning by unknown vandals.

Bill Dorris, owner of the 19-year-old statue and the private park it stands on, told The Tennessean that he plans on keeping the statue as is, saying that the new coat of pink paint would "show up real good" and praised the vandals for choosing "a real good color."

The statue, which stands 27 feet high, has been ridiculed in the past for its unorthodox portrayal of Forrest, particularly his facial features.

Nathan Bedford Forrest statue vandalized with pink paint

— Michael Schwab (@michaelschwab13) December 27, 2017

According to The New York Times, the statue was sculpted by Jack Kershaw, a lawyer by training whose clients included James Earl Ray, who was convicted of murdering Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968.

Kershaw also was a leading founder of the League of the South, described by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) as a "neo-Confederate group that advocates for a second Southern secession and a society dominated by 'European Americans.'"

The statue was immediately lambasted when it was unveiled in 1998. But Kershaw paid it no mind. "Somebody needs to say a good word for slavery," he once told the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

PHOTOS: Nathan Bedford Forrest statue along I-65 in Nashville vandalized:

— FoxNashville (@FOXNashville) December 27, 2017

In July, amid a wave of sentiment against the numerous Confederate memorials across the South, Nashville's Metro Council approved a resolution asking the Tennessee Department of Transportation to "plant vegetation" to block the view of the statue, according to The Tennessean.

But the state shot down the proposal, arguing that it "does not plant foliage on its right-of-way with the sole intention of blocking items on private property based on what might be offensive to some and not to others."

Last week, the city of Memphis sold two of its public parks to a local nonprofit, which then immediately ordered the removal of Confederate monuments that stood on the parkland.

Shout out to the beautiful souls that worked over the holidays to drench the statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest in paint. Rot in hell Forrest, death to the confederacy.

— Middle Tennessee DSA 🌹 (@MidTNDSA) December 27, 2017

The movement to abolish Confederate monuments and memorials on public land gained steam in 2017. According to the Times, more than 30 cities either have removed or are removing such monuments, despite outcries from President Donald Trump and others not to do so.

In a series of tweets, Trump said:

Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments. You can't change history, but you can learn from it. Robert E Lee, Stonewall Jackson — who's next, Washington, Jefferson? So foolish! Also the beauty that is being taken out of our cities, towns and parks will be greatly missed and never able to be comparably replaced!

Detractors, however, point to an August report by the SPLC that shows that most of the Confederate monuments across the United States weren't erected until after 1900, decades after the Civil War ended in 1865.

"The argument that the Confederate flag and other displays represent 'heritage, not hate' ignores the near-universal heritage of African-Americans whose ancestors were enslaved by the millions in the South," the report says.

"It trivializes their pain, their history and their concerns about racism—whether it's the racism of the past or that of today," the report continues. "And it conceals the true history of the Confederate States of America and the seven decades of Jim Crow segregation and oppression that followed the Reconstruction era."

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