Redemption: Here’s How the First KKK Grand Wizard Came To Love Black People

Redemption: Here’s How the First KKK Grand Wizard Came To Love Black People


They are rare.

They may happen once in a lifetime or not at all. They’re God stories, moments of clarity — those occasions when an individual experiences a profound spiritual change. And suddenly, a long-held, deeply ingrained attitude or behavior vanishes and nothing is the same again.

Confederate Army Gen. Nathaniel Bedford Forrest, who earned the nickname “The Wizard of the Saddle” for his aggressive — and highly effective — exploits on the battlefield, and subsequently served as the first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, underwent such a fundamental transformation.

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Forrest was born in 1821 in Chapel Hill, Tennessee, the eldest son of a poor blacksmith and his wife. Upon the death of his father 16 years later, Forrest became the man of the house.

A born leader, he seemed to rise to a position of authority in whatever enterprise he was associated with.

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