Alabama Lawmaker Will Dismukes Blasted After Attending Celebration Of Confederate General, KKK Leader

A statue of Nathan Bedford Forrest is shown
Carlo Allegri / Getty Images

Alabama lawmaker Will Dismukes came under fire yet again on Monday for his embrace of the Confederacy and prominent Confederate generals who were also members of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK). State Sen. Clyde Chambliss called for Dismukes to step down from the legislature after the representative attended an event over the weekend that celebrated Nathan Bedford Forrest. According to Brian Lyman of the Montgomery Advertiser, Chambliss posted a missive on Facebook where he said that Dismukes didn’t “share his values” or the values of their shared district.

“The post is bad enough, the timing is even worse, but the real problem is that an elected official in 2020 would attend a celebration of the life of someone that led a group that terrorized and killed other human beings,” Chambliss wrote.

The post came after Dismukes gave an interview to a local television station, WSFA. In that interview, the representative said he was surprised by the criticism. He blamed the criticism on an”anti-Southern sentiment.” He also said he wasn’t sure there was a need, in this day and age, for racial reconciliation.

Dismukes made his case by telling the station that people no longer drink from separate water fountains, and they no longer go to segregated schools. He added there are abundant work opportunities “for all colors” and abundant scholarship opportunities “for all colors.”

The latest wave of criticism is the strongest yet from inside Dismukes’ party. Democrats in Alabama called for the representative to step down several times over the last few months because of his embrace of the Confederacy. Until Monday, Republicans had largely said it was up to the voters to decide what should happen to the lawmaker.

The issue arose when Dismukes made an appearance at Fort Dixie to speak about the legacy of General Forrest, who is also said to be one of the early leaders of the KKK. Pictures of him standing on a stage adorned with Confederate flags reportedly circulated on social media and he posted about what a great time he had at the event on his own Facebook page. Kyle Whitmire of the Alabama Media Group shared that post on his Twitter account.

Whitmire also pointed out that Dismukes was making his appearance at the celebration of a Confederate general on the same day when many Alabamians were honoring the life of Congressman John Lewis, who passed away earlier this month.

While some other Republican leaders did criticize Dismukes over his comments and appearance at the event, no other members of his party called for him to step down.