Taylor Swift sounded off in a Twitter thread today (June 12) about the state of two specific Confederate monuments in her home state of Tennessee.
She said the statues of Edward Carmack and Nathan Bedford Forrest, which have been torn down and attempted to be removed, respectively, “celebrate racist historical figures who did evil things.” Swift called on Capitol Commission and the Tennessee Historical Commission to permanently remove these monuments as the first small step to redefining the state’s history, one she believes would welcome and support all kinds of visitors as well as Black Tennesseans.
“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,” she wrote as part of her lengthy argument. “We need to retroactively change the status of people who perpetuated hideous patterns of racism from ‘heroes’ to ‘villains.’ And villains don’t deserve statues.”
Civilians toppled Carmack’s statue in the Tennessee State Capitol at the end of last month while protesting George Floyd’s murder and overall police brutality against Black Americans, but Swift wrote the state “vowed to replace it.” The early 20th-century newspaper publisher frequently sparred with journalist Ida B. Wells for her anti-lynching and racial justice writings, eventually inciting a mob against her that destroyed her newspaper office.
“FYI, he was a white supremacist newspaper editor who published pro-lynching editorials and incited the arson of the office of Ida B. Wells (who actually deserves a hero’s statue for her pioneering work in journalism and civil rights),” Swift explained and proposed. She later described replacing it as “a waste of state funds and a waste of an opportunity to do the right thing.”
At the Tennessee State Capitol, protesters also tried to remove the bust of Forrest, who famously served as a Confederate Army general during the Civil War and massacred hundreds of Black Union soldiers at Fort Pillow. He also led the Klu Klux Klan (KKK) as its first Grand Wizard. The Lover artist not only shared a Daily Beast article that detailed more of his highly controversial history but expressed her hope that Nathan Bedford Forrest Day, a local holiday in the state, may no longer be observed on July 13.
“His statue is still standing and July 13th is ‘Nathan Bedford Forrest Day.’ Due to social pressure, the state is trying to overrule this, and Tennesseans might no longer have to stomach it. Fingers crossed,” she wrote. Today, both the Senate and House passed a bill that excused Tennesee Governor Bill Lee from recognizing this holiday, according to The Tennessean.
Read Swift’s entire Twitter thread below.