REMEMBER FORT PILLOW: And the Genesis of the KKK By Andre Austin The Time: April 12, 1864 The Place: Fort Pillow, Tennessee On April 12, 1864 White Confederate Soldiers massacred 262 Black union soldiers after they surrendered and laid down their weapons. Slavery and racism was so bad blacks serving in the army were paid $3 dollars less per month than white solders were paid [$13 per month] and were generally not taken as prisoners of war. It was called “No Quarter”=No POW. When white Texans fought at the Alamo in 1836 and lost every man, fighting Mexicans over slavery, they vowed their martyrs to never be forgotten and adopted the battle cry of: “Remember the Alamo”. Likewise Black Troops had a similar battle cry. “A white soldier in one of the Pennsylvania regiments wrote back home: ‘The confederates are not as much afraid of us as they are of the Mokes (black troops). When the Black troops charge they will not take any prisoners, if they can help it. Their battle cry is, Remember Fort Pillow! Sometimes, in their excitement, they forget what to say, when they catch a man they say: ‘Remember what you done to us, way back, down dar’. As I go off on a tangent to D-DAY in 1944 to an all black tank battalion led by Lt.Col Emmett Simmons. Five of Simmons soldiers were shot down holding a white flag by German Nazi’s. Simmons battalion eventually won the battle and took the Nazi’s prisoners and questioned the German’s as to why they killed his unarmed black men. The Nazi’s said: “Because they were nig.ger.s”. Simmons then proceeded to treat them the same way he treated his black troops. It took a long for curiosity & equality of solder’s to emerge in the USA. Now let us go back to Fort Pillow. The so-called “Fort Pillow Massacre” was the most notable instance of the murder of Black soldiers after capture. A Congressional Committee interrogated 21 black survivors of the fort pillow affair. The testimony of 2 of these soldiers is excerpted below. Earl Carlton, (Black) private Q: Where were you raised? A: In East Tennessee Q Have you been a slave A: Yes Q: Were you at fort Pillow at the time it was taken? A: Yes, Sir Q: State what happened there A: I saw 23 men shot after they surrendered Q: Who shot them A: The white Confederate rebels. Q: Where you shot with a musket or a pistol? A: With a musket. I was hit once on the battle field… Some of our privates commenced talking. They said, ‘Do you fight with these God damned *******? They said, “yes”. Then they said, ‘God dammmn nig.g.ers, then, we will shoot you’, and they shot them right down.” (Well they sound just like the Nazi in WWII) Sgt. Benjamin Robinson (Black) Q: Were you at Fort Pillow in the fight there A: Yes sir. Q: What did you see? I saw them shoot two white men right by the side of me after they had laid their guns down. They shot a black man clear over into the river. Then they hallooed to me to come up the hill, and I came up. They said, ‘Give me your money, you dammnned nig.ger’. I told him I did not have any. Then they told me to lie down and they stripped everything off me. (See The Negro’s Civil War By James McPherson p.220-227). So what the Union held Congressional hearings about Fort pillow massacre because all the head snakes of the bloody carnage were not held accountable. Major General Nathan Bedford Forrest who led the Confederate troops to kill black who surrendered wasn’t punished for his crimes. First it was known that General Forrest offered a thousand dollars for the head of any his confederates who killed a white man who led a “nigeger regiment” Secondly one of his own told on him in a letter. A confederate soldier, Achilles Clark, wrote his wife saying: “I with several others tried to stop the butchery…but Gen Forrest ordered them [negro and white Union Troops] shot down like dogs”. General Forrest was the biggest Slave Trader in Memphis Tennessee. After the Civil War ended whites down South couldn’t tolerate blacks as citizens so they formed the KKK in Tennessee in 1865 (The same place Martin Luther King was assassinated in 1968). In 1867 at their first national gathering in the Maxwell house in Nashville, Tennessee the KKK selected their native son Former General Nathan Bedford Forrest to be their Imperial Grand Wizard. As a ruthless military tactician Forrest brought his talents to the secret organization to be America’s first terrorist organization. The KKK often lynched and pickled the sex organs of blacks in jars and sold as memorabilia in Mom & Pop stores. The KKK helped southern society establish Black Codes, peonage system, convict labor, Jim Crow, and Share cropping (Debt slavery) to put black in their place of slavery by other use of names. According to the book Trouble in Mind: Black Southerners in the Age of Jim Crow By Leon F. Litwack p.411 the machinery of Domination of blacks into an oppressive state was: 1. The Sheriff 2. Banker 3. Judge 4. Merchant 5. Popular Culture 6. Landlord 7. Politican 8. The Teacher 9. The armed Forces 10. The KKK All enforced economic dependence, reinforced powerlessness and social degradation to black people for 100 years after the Civil War.