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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.

PARKINSON RIPS LAMBERTH’S ANTI-RIOTING BILL

Watch Rep. Antonio Parkinson (D-Memphis) Rip House GOP Majority Leader William Lamberth’s anti-rioting bill for completely ignoring the ROOT CAUSE of the reason people are upset.

 

Senator Gilmore: Move “Hurtful” KKK Grand Wizard Bust

“I’m not certain those in favor of leaving that bust there recognize how hurtful it is to African-Americans.”

Senator Brenda Gilmore spoke with us after the state Capitol Commission’s meeting about moving the KKK GRAND WIZARD BUST out of our state capitol.

Chairman Stuart Mcwhorter & Governor Lee have STILL not set a date for the vote.

VIDEO: WILLIAMSON REPS OGLES & CASADA FINALLY SAY “MOVE THE KKK GRAND WIZARD BUST”

Ogles stresses “distraction” & activist “yelling”😢says moving it is “respectful”—suggests putting crosses in the capitol.

Newly woke disgraced ex-speaker Casada now says “change is painful but good”.

Senator Jack Johnson: “THE GOVERNOR HAS NOT WEIGHED IN YET” — Johnson reminds us Governor Lee controls 7 of the 12 state Capitol commission votes on MOVING THE KKK GRAND WIZARD BUST out of our Capitol.

You know who also hasn’t weighed in? SENATOR JACK JOHNSON.

VIDEO: “A Historical Day” #MoveTheKKKBust

“December 18th, 2019 was a historical day.”

Pastor Williamson of Strong Tower Bible Church tells his congregation about delivering 50,000 signatures to get the KKK GRAND WIZARD BUST removed from our Capitol with Pastor Kevin Riggs, and chairman Stuart Mcwhorter committing to discuss it by February. 🙌🏻🙌🏾🇺🇸

PASTORS TO DELIVER THOUSANDS OF SIGNATURES TO CAPITOL COMMISSION RE: KKK BUST

Pastors Chris Williamson (Strong Tower Bible Church), Kevin Riggs (Franklin Community Church) and supporters will deliver a petition that has garnered over 40,000 signatures in less than 1 week to the State Capitol Commission meeting Wednesday, calling for the Commission to take up a motion to move the bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest, the KKK’s First Grand Wizard, out of the Capitol.

Pastors Williamson &
Riggs

Here are the event details, for those who would like to join.

The Petition was started by the Tennessee Holler, and can be viewed HERE.

40,000 and climbing

Although Forrest was a Democrat, Tennessee Democrats have unanimously called for the bust’s removal, and in recent weeks even Republican leaders have begun to as well – including House Republican caucus leader Jeremy Faison, grandson of a confederate colonel, who says conversation with Rep. GA Hardaway and reading Forrest’s own writings helped convince him.

Governor Lee has said he would ask the Capitol Commission to take up the issue, but has not done so.

WHY PEOPLE SIGNED

He also said he will work to change the law declaring July 13th Nathan Bedford Forrest Day, but has not taken measures to do that yet either.

Pastors Williamson and Riggs have asked to be able to speak briefly at the commission meeting.

MEMBERS OF THE Capitol Commission

 

VIDEO: Rep. Tillis “Doesn’t Necessarily Agree” with Moving the KKK Bust

NEW: Rep. Rick Tillis (R-Lewisburg) “doesn’t necessarily agree” with GOP house caucus leader Jeremy Faison’s call to remove the KKK Grand Wizard bust from the Capitol.

Tillis worries about “whitewashing” history, wonders where the line would be.

All reps should be asked about this. Contact THE STATE CAPITOL COMMISSION to ask them to move the bust.

OR SIGN OUR PETITION.

VIDEO: JAMESTOWN TEENS DRESS AS KKK FOR HALLOWEEN

Do better, Jamestown!

Disgraced Former Speaker’s N Word-Using Chief: “Send KKK Bust To Museum”

On August 2nd, speaker Glen Casada became former Speaker Glen Casada. Cameron Sexton will be stepping in to fill his very small shoes during a special session August 23rd.

The disgraced now-former Tennessee speaker’s downfall can be traced back to his refusal to meet with activists who insisted the bust of Nathan Bedford Forrest – the KKK’s first Grand Wizard – be removed from the capitol. This week, Casada’s also disgraced former chief of staff Cade Cothren, who was outed for using the N Word and calling black people “idiots”, among other things, joined them in their call to move the bust, saying in a Twitter conversation it should be “sent to a museum”.

The list of Casada’s transgressions is long – we did our best to list them in video form HERE – but the beginning of his downfall can be traced back to one very specific issue: The bust of the KKK’s first Grand Wizard Nathan Bedford Forrest, which sits prominently in Tennessee’s state Capitol, and Casada’s refusal to meet with the activists who have long been calling for its removal.

Casada’s predecessor Speaker Beth Harwell Met with the activists, many of which are students. Casada would not. Instead, he gave them the runaround, dodging them in the halls of the Capitol and having his chief of staff Cothren lie directly to their faces about misspelled emails.

Eventually the frustration of activists Justin Jones and Jeneisha Harris boiled over and resulted in Jones throwing a paper cup of iced (not hot) tea (not coffee) at Casada as he fled into a private elevator.

The assault & disorderly conduct charges filed against Justin Jones and Jeneisha Harris respectively in the aftermath are still pending. (The next hearing is August 15th at 9AM in courtroom 4D)

Another issue still outstanding is that of Casada’s former Chief of staff Cade Cothren, who resigned amid numerous scandals of his own, and whether or not he falsified the date on an email date to make it look like Jones contacted Casada in violation of a court order, which would have landed Jones in jail.

Casada and Cothren claim the date discrepancy can be chalked up to an issue with the legislature’s SPAM filters delaying the email, and special prosecutor on the case Craig Northcott – the D.A. in Coffee County, who himself is under fire for open Islamophobia, homophobia, and a refusal to respect the authority of the Supreme Court – appears to be taking their word for it. Despite calls by Jones, and even Cothren himself, for Northcott to bring in the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation for an independent investigation about the possibly fraudulent emails, Northcott has refused.

The possible framing of a civil rights activist aside, Cothren resigned due to numerous other scandals – many of which Casada was complicit in – including lewd, sexist texts and behavior, an admission that he was doing cocaine at his desk during work hours, and racism. Lots of racism. 

Cothren used the “N Word” to describe quarterback Jameis Winston. He said “black people are idiots.” The list goes on.

A lot has happened since the beginning of Casada and Cothren’s downfall, and so many Phil Williams stories later it’s hard to remember how it all started… but it can all be traced back to one thing: That bust of the KKK’s first Grand Wizard in the legislature.

Casada has not expressed a willingness to move the bust, instead saying that adding “historical context” would be more appropriate (without specifying what that means).

Govenor Lee says a “conversation needs to be had” about the bust, again without providing specifics, and just recently agreed to take action to stop celebrating July 13th as “Nathan Bedford Forrest Day” after nationwide backlash – including from Republican Senator Ted Cruz – in the wake of his signing a proclamation to reaffirm it.

While Casada and Lee remain noncommittal, Casada’s “N Word”-using Former Chief of staff Cade Cothren has now changed his tune, conceding in a conversation on Twitter with Nashville native @AliceRolli1 that the bust should indeed be moved:

The comment comes as part of what appears to be an effort by Cothren to repair his image, an effort that has mainly consisted of joining Twitter and sending Taylor Swift memes to his critics while using Taylor Swift lyrics to challenge them to a fight in his Twitter bio.

“Sure, send it to the museum” is clearly a flippant, dismissive way to come around to a position on a serious topic concerning a statue much of Tennessee’s African-American population considers to be a painful reminder of a dark past. That being said, it’s also a clear departure from the official position his disgraced boss Casada’s office held when the then-speaker was dodging Jones & Harris in the halls, turning a deaf ear to protestors who were imploring Tennessee leadership to listen to Tennessee’s black citizens and move the symbol of hate.

Cothren is clearly trying to make himself employable in the state of Tennessee again so his motives can’t be viewed as entirely altruistic, but if a Republican speaker’s chief of staff who once said “black People are idiots” and called Jameis Winston the N Word is now willing to publicly call for the bust to be sent to a museum… well, these days in Tennessee, that certainly counts as progress.

Holler at Governor Lee and soon-to-be Speaker Sexton if you agree it’s time to “send the bust to the museum”.

VIDEO: The Justin Jones & Jeneisha Harris Hearing

Video from the hearing of Justin Jones & Jeneisha Harris last week, presided over by openly bigoted D.A. Northcott, who says Muslims are “evil” and refuses to recognize the supreme court’s marriage equality ruling and treat LGBT people equally under the law (both stories broken by the Holler).

He also refuses to bring in the TBI to investigate Speaker Casada possibly framing Jones, even though they have offered (see below).300 Tennessee attorneys just filed a motion to have Northcott’s law license taken away.

The next hearing is August 15th at 9AM in Courtroom 4D.