White Anti-Racist Hall of Fame
Racist white leaders are well-known and even revered in American history. Indeed, when Loewen began his work critiquing our monuments and historical markers, he asked the question, “What person gets the most historical markers in any state?” The shocking answer: Not Lincoln in Illinois, nor Washington in Virginia, but Nathan Bedford Forrest in Tennessee. Who was Nathan Bedford Forrest? He was a slave trader before the Civil War. During the war he was a Confederate cavalry leader who presided over war crimes at Fort Pillow in West Tennessee, where his men murdered prisoners of war who had already surrendered. After the war, he was the first national “Grand Wizard” of the Ku Klux Klan, Meanwhile, our landscape gave almost no recognition to abolitionists anywhere.
As a consequence, white students in the era 1985 – 2015, asked to name their heroes in the past, never picked a white abolitionist, civil rights martyr, labor leader, or advocate like Helen Hunt Jackson for American Indian rights. Those pioneers for justice didn’t stand out, compared to whites on the other side, from Jeffrey Amherst through Andrew Jackson to J. Edgar Hoover. It was fine that some picked Martin Luther King Jr., Mother Teresa, or Nelson Mandela, but it seemed that young white people had to invent the possibility of anti-racist whites all over again – they had never heard of any.
Coming to the same conclusion, Eddie Moore Jr., founder of the White Privilege Conference, suggested to Loewen that they co-found a White Anti-Racist Hall of Fame, celebrating anti-racist whites who for the most part lay forgotten. Eventually the White Privilege Conference will take over the Hall and nominate new members every year.
If you have a nomination – someone in our past who fought for justice for people of another racial group – complete the form on this page.