There is an academy in Arkansas named after him, a high school in Florida, a street in Tennessee and who knows what else. Few have ever heard of him, but I would not be surprised if his name becomes the center-point of the standards movement. Nathaniel Bedford Forrest was a talented Southern Civil War General. He was legitimately feared by Northern Armies. Had his intelligence been acknowledged at the Battle of Shiloh, Grant may have been denied his victory at that location. Indeed Ulysses Sam Grant may have never risen to be the savior of the United States in our bloodiest war had Bedford Forrest’s advice been taken. Prior to the war Nathaniel Bedford Forrest was slave trader. After the war he founded an organization known as the Klu Klux Klan. At the end of his life he realized his error and rode across the South trying to convince Southerners to abandon the Klan. It was his least successful effort.
How will the South deal with standards? We have no schools that I am aware of named after Benedict Arnold whose deeds in truth pale in comparison to Nathaniel Bedford Forrest. James Longstreet, Stonewall Jackson, and Robert E. Lee were at one point legitimate American heroes. Today, especially with standards in education, how do we honor anyone who fought against the United States, who sought the domination of others and attempted to deny them what both North and South had previously agreed were god given rights, the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness? How will the South deal with American History standards? This is going to be messier than the evolution and intelligent design arguments.
In the long run, this argument may be good for America and end distortions concerning the war and those who fought for the South. It may be the only good thing I can say about national standards. I just hope the argument remains civil.