Singer-songwriter Taylor Swift continued her political streak on Friday by taking aim at Tennessee’s monuments of white supremacist newspaper editor Edward Carmack and founding KKK leader Nathan Bedford Forrest.
“As a Tennessean, it makes me sick that there are monuments standing in our state that celebrate racist historical figures who did evil things,” Swift began her lengthy Twitter thread.
The singer called Carmack and Forrest “despicable figures” in her state’s history and claimed they “should be treated as such.” Swift noted that Tennessee has vowed to replace Carmack’s statue — which was torn down by protesters — and said the move was a “waste of state funds” as well as a “waste of an opportunity to do the right thing.”
Swift then took aim at Forrest, who she noted was responsible for the massacre of black Union soldiers in Memphis during the United States Civil War. Although the statute is still up, Swift expressed optimism that social pressure will lead to its removal as well as a reconsideration of Nathan Bedford Forrest Day, which takes place on July 13th.
“Taking down statues isn’t going to fix centuries of systemic oppression, violence and hatred that black people have had to endure but it might bring us one small step closer to making ALL Tennesseans and visitors to our state feel safe – not just the white ones.”
Swift called on the Capitol Commission and the Tennessee Historical Commission to consider the implications of keeping the monuments up. She also argued for a “retroactive change” in the status of “heroes” who “perpetuated hideous patterns of racism” into “villains.”
Swift’s thread received praise from users who believed she is using her platform to fight for positive change. Conversely, critics suggested that historical figures should not be judged based on the morals of the present.
As reported by Nashville Scene, Tennessee Republicans continue to defend the statue of Bedford. The state’s Republican governor, Bill Lee, has urged dialogue between both parties to determine what to do with the figure. Republican Jerry Sexton noted that slavery was legal during Bedford’s time and suggested that slavery may resurface in the future — a comment that allegedly caught even some of his Republican allies by surprise.
Swift previously voiced her opposition to Trump’s comments on the Minnesota protests following George Floyd’s death. She accused the real estate mogul of stoking racism and white supremacy for the duration of his presidency and said he would lose at the ballot box in November.