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Senior VA Official removed KKK Grand Wizard Portrait to Washington Post request



A senior veteran of the Department of Veterans Affairs pulled out of his office a portrait of a Confederate general and famous Ku Klux Klan great magician after a Washington Post reporter asked him about it, the newspaper reported on Tuesday

Post, David J. Thomas Sr., a deputy executive director of the VA's Office for Small and Disadvantaged Enterprises, removed the portrait from his Washington, DC office after the reporter had told him that his subject, Lieutenant Colonel Nathan Bedford Forrest, was a slave trader and the first great wizards of the Ku Klux Klan.

The portrait painted by artist Don Stivers and titled "No Surrender" is for $ 3,500

Stiver's official description of the portrait reads:

In the icy dawn, Colonel Nathan Bedford Forrest summoned his officers, explained the dangerous situation, and gave them the choice: stay with the rest of the devoted garrison Ft. Donelson or risk death making its way. For him, there was no choice but to fight.

"It was just a beautiful print I bought, and I thought it was very nice," said Thomas, who has worked as a VA official since 2013

. He also said that he named Forrest only as "Southern General." in the Civil War ".

Nine of the 14 managers working at Thomas & # 39; s employees are black, according to the newspaper. At least three of his employees have opened cases of racial discrimination against senior officials.

A lawyer representing two of the employees in the discrimination case told the post office that Thomas's portrait choice is an example of his attitude toward blacks.

"You hire nobody to make a picture of the clan in his office, unless you are racially insensitive," said lawyer John Rigby's mail.

The Veterans Affairs section of the American Federation of Government Employees launched a petition to remove the portrait after a union representative recognized the topic of the portrait as a founding member of the KKK at a meeting in Thomas's office.

  Nathan Bedford Forrest was a Confederate general and great wizard of the KKK.


benoitb via Getty Images

Nathan Bedford Forrest was a Confederate general and great wizard of the KKK.

Following a request from CNN, a spokesman for the Department of Veterans Affairs said Thomas had received no complaints from his colleagues about the portrait.

"Mr. Thomas received no complaints from his colleagues and was only informed by the Washington Post of these concerns," according to the CNN. "Sir, Thomas immediately took up the pressure in question – a work by the well-known historical artist Don Stivers – and the matter is resolved."

Forrest became best known in Tennessee for the 1864 attack of Fort Pillow, also known as the Fort Pillow Massacre which he describes as a leader. The attack left hundreds of defenders, including an overwhelming number of African Americans, according to the American National Biography and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.

In December 2017, a statue of Forrest from the Health Sciences Park in Memphis after a city council voted to replace it with statues of Martin Luther King Jr. [VA] Speaker VA: "Mr. Thomas received no complaints from His colleague and only learned of these concerns from the Washington Post, Mr. Thomas immediately picked up the print in question – a work of the well-known historical artist Don Stivers – and the matter is resolved. "Zachary Cohen (@ZcohenCNN) 23. October 2018


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