REP. RAGAN DECLINES TO DENOUNCE THE KLAN

This was originally a Facebook Post by Chad Riden. Re-posted with his permission.

REP. RAGAN DECLINES TO DENOUNCE THE KLAN

State Representative John Ragan (R-Oak Ridge), representing District 33 in Anderson County, made it clear in an exchange with Chad that he has no intention of distancing himself from the KKK, despite being given every opportunity.

Chad emailed each of the 11 legislators in the ‘Naming, Designating, & Private Acts Committee’ who voted NO on HJR0686 (General Assembly, Statement of Intent or Position – Suggests removing Nathan Bedford Forrest bust from State Capitol and replacing it with tribute to more deserving Tennessean.).

His email said the folowing:

“Did you realize you’re becoming internet famous? The attached image has been posted to Reddit Instagram Facebook Twitter and probably other places.

People are saying that by voting NO to remove the Nathan Bedford Forrest bust you are standing strong in support of the KKK. Are you a member of the Klan? Or are you merely in support of continuing to honor the murderous slaver who served as their first grand wizard? Is there a difference?

I would like to know why you think it’s a good idea to honor this murderer in our state capital.”

This is the image Chad included:

According to Chad, the offices of Rep. Jerry Sexton and Rep. Mike Sparks responded with a generic “thank you for your message” type email.

Rep. John Ragan, however, responded personally by sending him the text of this entire article defending Nathan Bedford Forrest, the KKK’s First Grand Wizard, as an “activist for black civil rights”.

According to Chad…

I responded:

“I have heard that NBF changed his mind near the end of his life but this is the story about him that haunts me:

‘The Battle of Fort Pillow on April 12, 1864 ended with a massacre of African-American Union troops and their white officers attempting to surrender, by soldiers under the command Nathan Bedford Forrest.

Union survivors claimed that even though all their troops surrendered, Forrest’s men massacred some in cold blood. Surviving members of the garrison said that most of their men surrendered and threw down their arms, only to be shot or bayoneted by the attackers, who repeatedly shouted, “No quarter! No quarter!”

A letter from one of Forrest’s own sergeants, Achilles V. Clark, writing to his sisters on April 14, reads in part:

“The slaughter was awful. Words cannot describe the scene. The poor deluded negros would run up to our men fall on their knees and with uplifted hands scream for mercy but they were ordered to their feet and then shot down. The whitte \[sic\] men fared but little better. The fort turned out to be a great slaughter pen. Blood, human blood stood about in pools and brains could have been gathered up in any quantity. I with several others tried to stop the butchery and at one time had partially succeeded but Gen. Forrest ordered them shot down like dogs and the carnage continued. Finally our men became sick of blood and the firing ceased.”‘
###

I’m uncomfortable celebrating a man who ever did that. The only people I hear defending Nathan Bedford Forrest are white supremacists. How do you feel about the Black lives matter movement? Will you go on the record denouncing the KKK?”

Rep. Ragan wrote back:

“Dear Mr. Riden,

Your description of Fort Pillow is questionable when considered objectively. It remains unclear whether Forrest ordered the massacre, encouraged it, ignored it, or — as he later claimed — was unaware of it. He was never charged or tried for the events at Fort Pillow.

Please consult any of the following sources and you will see that Forrest was never convicted of any of the accusations you posited:

These trials can be found via a link on the catalog records on the Library of Congress Online catalog. The military trials encompass several departments:

Military Trials: Middle Department, 1862 – 1866

General Court Martial Orders: Department of the South, 1862 – 1868

General Court Martial Orders: Department of the Cumberland, 1866 – 1870

General Court Martial Orders: Department of the Missouri, 1861 – 1863, 1866 – 1867, 1868, 1869 – 1870, 1871 – 1872

General Court Martial Orders: Department of the Gulf, 1862 -1867

General Court Martial Orders: Department of Texas 1861, 1865 – 1866, 1870 -1872

The military trials are viewable in PDF and Page turner versions. The name indexes have been included and tabbed in the PDF view, and in some of the volumes a subject index is available.

Relative to your other questions: you may consult my record and you will have your answers.

Good Day,

John D. Ragan

State Representative”

I wrote back:

“Thank you for responding I do appreciate it.
However you have not answered the questions I asked very directly:

How do you feel about the Black lives matter movement?

Will you go on the record denouncing the KKK?”

Ragan responded:

“Dear Mr. Riden,

Neither I, nor any of my direct forbearers, going all the way back to the one exiled by Oliver Cromwell to Jamestown in 1690, ever owned slaves. While I condemn that institution unequivocally, I owe no one an apology for it.

Moreover, my children have ancestors who fought for both the Union and the Confederacy. However, none of those ever owned slaves, either. Therefore, neither they, nor I, owe anyone apologies for slavery.

Furthermore, there were atrocities as well as heroes and villains on both sides of the Civil War. Additionally, there were black slave owners and blacks fought for both the Union and the Confederacy. There were slave owners in the North and the South including Union General U.S. Grant.

Your historical research relative to Confederate General Forrest is inadequate. If you refuse educate yourself, it appears future discussion on the topic is futile.

Finally, your juvenile attempts at insults to a veteran of two theaters of conflict though 24 year of military service, of which 8 were overseas, are ridiculous. I have served in deserts and jungles and picked up body parts of a comrade-in-arms from blood soaked ground. Moreover, while on active duty, I have had the very sad duty of escorting my squadron mate and best friend’s widow down a funeral isle to stand before his flag draped casket…an active duty fatality. Consequently, I do not need you to churlishly challenge my loyalty to the US Constitution, especially the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments.

You may consult my record for answers to your other questions.”

I guess I struck a nerve. I replied:

“Sir,

I didn’t ask if your family owned slaves but thank you for that information. Sorry if you feel insulted, that was never my intention. I just want to know:

How do you feel about the Black lives matter movement?

Will you go on the record denouncing the KKK?”

His response? You guessed it:

“You may consult my record for answers to your other questions.

Good Day,

John D. Ragan

State Representative”

John D. Ragan, State Representative REFUSED to denounce the KKK multiple times and told me to consult his voting record for my answer.

His voting record shows he wishes to honor Nathan Bedford Forrest, the first grand wizard of the KKK.

As far as I’m concerned, that’s a confirmation that John Ragan from Oak Ridge, representing District 33 in Anderson County, fully supports the KKK.

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