On Thursday, The Tennessee Holler reported that Tennessee state Rep. Mike Sparks, who makes a habit of complaining that “young people” and “journalists” don’t bother to study history, could not answer a basic question about what the Civil War was fought over.
“Was the Civil War about slavery?” asked a reporter.
“I haven’t really studied it,” said Sparks.
“You said you know history!” said another reporter.
“I just think we need to all study history,” said Sparks, still not answering the question. “There’s different contexts.”
This comes during a debate over whether to remove a bust of Confederate general and suspected Klan leader Nathan Bedford Forrest. Another lawmaker, state Sen. Joey Hensley, defended Forrest, arguing that “3,000 Blacks attended his funeral” — a common but unproven claim of Confederate sympathizers.
“We have an elected official who won’t admit that the Civil War was fought over slavery, lectures Black Americans about what they should and shouldn’t be protesting, and believes we should keep the bust of the KKK’s first Grand Wizard in our state capitol as a symbol of forgiveness,” said Brandon Thomas, his Democratic opponent. “It’s clear that Mike Sparks and the Nathan Bedford Forrest bust are both relics of history that need to be removed from the Tennessee State Capitol.”
Rep. Mike Sparks, the same legislator who routinely scolds “young people” & “journalists” during public meetings for not studying history, here says he “(hasn’t) really studied” the Civil War and cannot answer the question of whether it was about slavery. pic.twitter.com/uc0bxx6Fxq
— Natalie Allison (@natalie_allison) July 9, 2020