Rush Introduces Bill to Study National Park Status for Fort Pillow
WASHINGTON — Today, U.S. Representative Bobby L. Rush (D-Ill.) introduced legislation to direct the Department of the Interior to conduct a study of Fort Pillow to determine if the area would qualify as a unit of the National Park Service.
The Battle of Fort Pillow was fought on April 12, 1864, at Fort Pillow in Henning, Tennessee, during the American Civil War. Confederate forces never defeated the Union Navy, but instead perpetrated a heinous massacre at Fort Pillow after violating a temporary truce by looting government buildings and private storefronts surrounding the fort.
“It is important to raise the profile of this historical site and I am committed to working with my Congressional colleagues to ensure Fort Pillow gets National Park status,” said Rush.
Of the 535 troop garrisoned at Fort Pillow, 262 were African-American troops. 300 people were murdered in cold blood after the post was taken over by rebels. However, it is estimated that, in total, there could have been nearly 400 casualties during the Confederate onslaught.
The massacre of Fort Pillow demonstrated to all U.S. African-American troops that surrender was not an option. It became a battle cry and motivation for an estimated 209,000 U.S. African-American troops who fundamentally contributed to the Union’s defeat of the Confederacy.
“This recognition will not only bolster knowledge of an important moment in American history, but will also encourage tourism and attract individuals from around the country to visit the Civil War museum, hiking trail, camping ground, and picnic area with the intent of learning about and acknowledging these patriots.”