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Archiver > Scotch-Irish > 1998-02 > 0886886950

From: Iain Sommerville< >
Subject: Re: Founder of the KKK
Date: Sat, 07 Feb 1998 21:29:10 GMT

I had an interesting mix of responses to my enquiry about the founder
of the Ku Klux Klan. Contrary to what some people think, my intention
was simply to find out a little information about Nathan Bedford
Forrest, who had been described on the list as "a Scot". This is a
part of American history I know nothing about, but it concerns me
because I like to know what my fellow countrymen got up to.

There seems a general assumption that Forrest was either Scots or
Scots-Irish, but no-one could say so with certainty. I would however
like to thank those who tried to help. It is also clear that opinions
vary on the man himself.

However, my main purpose in posting this further message is to say
that I found some of the contributions a little surprising. It is
clear that some people believe that the KKK should be swept under the
carpet, and not talked about - not even in a historical perspective. I
did not expect this in what I always believed to be a particularly
open society. I also think that it is quite legitimate to discuss on
this list historical issues related to the list’s raison d’etre,
whether they be bitter or sweet. Present day politics may have a place
as well, if it is being discussed in the context of a historical

Can I end by saying that I also received a number of messages where I
appreciated the courage of those who were prepared to comment on an
upsetting facet of American life. Every country has to deal with
episodes like this: surely it is better to look at them squarely and

Iain Sommerville
Burntisland, Fife, Scotland

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