Alabama state GOP lawmaker criticized for attending celebration for former KKK leader

A GOP state lawmaker in Alabama is facing criticism and calls for his resignation after he posted on social media about honoring Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Confederate army general and founder of the Ku Klux Klan.

AL.com reported Monday that state Rep. Will Dismukes (R) is taking heat from politicians on both sides of the aisle after he posted a photo of himself celebrating Forrest's birthday in Selma over the weekend at the same time the late Rep. John LewisJohn LewisDemocrats face mounting hurdles to agenda Democrats see opportunity as states push new voting rules Lobbying world MORE (D-Ga.), a civil rights champion, was being honored in the town following his death.

"Had a great time at Fort Dixie speaking and giving the invocation for Nathan Bedford Forrest annual birthday celebration," Dismukes posted in a now-deleted Facebook post, according to AL.com.


“Will Dismukes has demonstrated yet again why he is unfit to hold public office. Americans don’t celebrate racists or traitors. Nathan Bedford Forrest was both. And a founder of the Klan,” state Democratic Party Executive Director Wade Perry told AL.com. “The Alabama Democratic Party renews our call for Dismukes to resign. It’s 2020 and it’s time for racial extremists like Will Dismukes to go away.”

The state's GOP chairwoman, Terry Lathan, told AL.com that she isn't urging Dismukes to resign but hoped his constituents would "contact Rep. Dismukes to articulate and share with him their thoughts on his personal actions.”

“It is one thing to honor one’s Southern heritage, however, it is completely another issue to specifically commemorate the leader of an organization with an indisputable history of unconscionable actions and atrocities toward African Americans,” she added.

Alabama GOP House Majority Whip Danny Garrett said he "cannot fathom why anyone in 2020 celebrates" Forrest's birthday.

In a statement to AL.com, Dismukes said his appearance at the Beford Forrest ceremony “was in no way glorifying the Klan or disrespecting the late Rep. John Lewis."