A Republican Alabama state legislator celebrated the birthday of an early Ku Klux Klan leader on the same day that the late civil rights leader and congressman John Lewis was honored by the state.
State Rep. Will Dismukes of Prattville posted a photo of Nathan Bedford Forrest, the first grand wizard of the KKK, on the same day Lewis' body began a six-day journey through Alabama, stopping in some of the towns he marched in during the Civil Rights movement.
"Had a great time at Fort Dixie speaking and giving the invocation for Nathan Bedford Forrest annual birthday celebration," Dismukes wrote in the now-deleted post, a screenshot of which was shared on Twitter by the Alabama Democratic Party. "Always a great time and some sure enough good eating!!"
The photo also shows Dismukes standing at a podium along with several Confederate flags and a portrait of the KKK leader.
The Republican legislator later wrote on Facebook:
"My post was in no way glorifying the Klan or disrespecting the late Rep. John Lewis. I am a transparent person. To the point that as a public official I lay it all there for the people to see for better or for worse at times. The post was in no way intended to seem as if I was glorifying the Klan or any party thereof. The very atrocities and actions they committed are a disgrace to our country."
Alabama State House Majority Whip Danny Garrett, a Republican, appeared to reference the incident in a tweet Sunday, writing:
"I cannot fathom why anyone in 2020 celebrates the birthday of the 1st KKK Grand Wizard. And while the body of a civil rights icon beaten by the Klan lies at state Capitol being honored by GOP/Dem leaders from all over the state. This mentality does not rep my party or my faith."
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