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Asa Earl Carter — the Forrest Bedford of the Native American literary world?

I was fascinated by a recent public television documentary about a man named Asa Carter who changed his name mid-life name to Forrest Bedford Carter, becoming an author of a controversial memoir, now recognized as a work for fiction, The Education of Little Tree.

Asa Carter, segregationist, aka Forrest Bedford Carter, the Native American author

Asa Earl Carter (September 4, 1925–June 7, 1979), was a devote of Nathan Bedford Forrest (July 13, 1821 – October 29, 1877),  a notorious and racist  lieutenant general in the Confederate Army during the American Civil War. Like the real Gen. Forrest, Carter was a rabid segregationist and an infamous racist propagandist, as well, in the 1960s. A leader of the (White) Citizens Councils (a group dedicated to opposing desegregation and one that was generally considered to be a front group for the Ku Klux Klan) of North Alabama, Carter was the head of a “klavern” of the Ku Klux Klan and was an unofficial speechwriter for segregationist Governor George Wallace, the segregationist governor of Alabama in 1968 and candidate for the Presidency in 1972.

Since its first publication by Delacorte Press in 1976, the book was quite popular, with many people drawn to its message of traditional, simple living and love of nature. However,The Education of Little Tree was the subject of controversy after the publication of an article years later, on October 4, 1991, by Dan T. Carter (a history professor and distant cousin of Asa Carter) called “The Transformation of a Klansman” in the New York Times. 


Little Tree, it turned out, was a sham — any student of Native Americans would have known this from the start, but the book found its home with people who wanted to believe what Carter had written.
Originally accepted as an actual work by a Cherokee Indian, The Education of Little Tree ranks as one of the great literary hoaxes of American literature. Carter also published two Westerns, including The Rebel Outlaw: Josey Wales that actor Clint Eastwood made into the 1976 hit movie The Outlaw Josie Wells (1976). After the Eastwood film was released, the New York Times published the truth about Carter, revealing that “Forrest Carter” was actually Asa Earl Carter, the segregationist. 
Since Carter was part of the Citizens Councils — originating in 1954 in Mississippi — and a well-known segretationist writer, I wanted to see if there were any records on him in the Sovereignty Commission. And…

Go to the Main Search Page at


http://mdah.state.ms.us/arrec/digital_archives/sovcom/

and plug in Asa Carter…. for two results that will lead you to three links. Be sure to put in the last name, first. Carter…Asa.

I would provide the direct links, but the state library is playing games this days, so you have to bring these up on your own.

Good luck and have fun. Susan

(Not much there, just some newspaper articles and column, but enough to bring some fascinating history to life. sk)