The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.

Georgia Police Chief Accepts Award from Extremists During Rally Against Latino Immigrants

By Hatewatch Staff on August 27, 2013 - 1:37 pm, Posted in Anti-Immigrant, Neo-Confederate, White Supremacist
Police Chief Lewis Smith of Uvalda, Ga., accepts “Robert E. Lee Award of Duty” from League of the South President Michael Hill.

Flying the Georgia Secession flag and the Southern Nationalist Activism flag, about 50 demonstrators took to the streets of tiny Uvalda, Ga., this past Saturday to protest the presence of Latino immigrants who they blamed for “Southern demographic displacement.”

The rally, sponsored by the neo-Confederate League of the South, was notable for the lack of overt racism as the organizers, including a man who once belonged to a leading neo-Nazi organization, sought to present a mainstream, non-threatening image.

The demonstrators – who were subject to a strict dress code forbidding Civil War regalia, inflammatory belt buckles and hats, and requiring tucked-in, button-down shirts – smiled and waved to local traffic for several hours in the morning before continuing their protest in nearby Vidalia.

But barely whispered racial slurs were heard frequently by this reporter, and concealed firearms weren’t concealed very well.

Despite the veneer of moderation, the underlying message was clear: This land belongs to white people.

Speeches by League members focused on Southern identity, the “ownership” of the Southeast by white Southerners, and familiar political paranoia about state and federal government. League President Michael Hill, who declared, “God has made you who you are, and you have every right to stand up proudly and proclaim it,” used his address to reinforce a fear of minority status for whites.

“If you bring a new population who doesn’t speak your language, who doesn’t have your customs and traditions, who doesn’t respect you as owners of this place, it’s going to change and you are going to be a minority in a place your ancestors built. And that is not going to be a good situation. I can guarantee you. I have seen it firsthand. That’s why we’re here.”

Noticeably absent were local residents of Uvalda who are supposedly threatened by immigrants, many of whom work on area farms. But one local was standing with the League and its supporters: Police Chief Lewis Smith.

Last week, Smith’s support for the rally appeared to waver after being told by Hatewatch that one of the organizers was Michael Cushman, a former member of the neo-Nazi National Alliance, and that one of the scheduled speakers, Michael Tubbs, served four years in prison for stockpiling stolen military weapons with the intent of targeting “enemies of his race.”

But on Saturday, Smith was mingling casually with the rally participants and bringing them coffee and donuts. Then, Michael Hill presented him with the “Robert E. Lee Award for Duty.” The chief said nothing while accepting the award but later shook hands with many of the  participants.

Tubbs, of the Florida chapter, comforted those in attendance by announcing he had brought chest shields, QuickClot Combat Gauze, and other supplies to treat traumatic wounds. No such emergency medical supplies were needed.

League members and supporters from across the Southeast, and as far away as Peoria, Ill., came to the town of about 500 people, populating the four corners of Uvalda’s one main intersection and holding signs that read, “It’s wrong to replace us” and “Mayor Bridges wants to replace us.

Their ire was aimed at Bridges because he is one of the plaintiffs in a federal lawsuit filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center (publisher of Hatewatch) that resulted in the federal courts striking down key provisions of Georgia’s harsh anti-immigrant law.

Ed Wolfe, head of the League’s Georgia chapter, spoke about elected officials’ failure to represent their Southern constituents. “They are not doing their job. They are not stopping the invasion of our country and my state, Georgia. That’s what I consider my country.”

Wolfe encouraged attendants to “go up to north Georgia to those little mill towns … see if you speak the language. You don’t. These people took the jobs, took the farms, all the resources on the farms, and they’re taking over.”

Bradley Dean Griffin, who runs the racist blog Occidental Dissent, took to his website during and after the protest to decry those Southerners who are simply “bickering, time-wasting, navel-gazers so commonly found on the internet.”

According to Griffin, one of the objectives of the rally was to show “our many sympathizers that the league is full of normal, ordinary White Southerners.” He suggested that Murfreesboro and Shelbyville, Tenn., will be the next site, for League rallies – this time to fight “Muslim colonization.”

  • Kiwiwriter

    You know, Mr. Cushman…for a guy who did NOT want to have anything to do with the SPLC or give them a comment when they asked for it, you’re certainly being very loud on their blog, and eager to invite them to your event.

    Notice that they have NOT censored you.

    And the reasons why the insults weren’t quoted, aside from them being ugly and tasteless, quoting them would merely give your supporters more opportunities to spout lies and drivel.

    Unless you want to make a contribution to SPLC and its efforts, they’re not on your payroll, and are therefore not obligated to repeat your rubbish.

  • Corey

    I did not know Cushman was a former member of the National Alliance. Interesting and explains a great deal.

  • Tobias A. Weissman

    These so-called White People who think their race is top- dog should read Solomon chapter 3 in the Bible which says BLACK IS BEAUTIFUL and GOD IS NO RESPECTER OF PERSONS. This should put a damper on race relations since God is neither BLACK or WHITE but MENTALLY SPIRITUAL where MATTER doesn’t come into play

  • Sam Molloy

    Robert E. Lee was an honorable person and one wonders what his opinion would be on the issue of immigration. Perhaps his descendants can force these people to quit sullying his name with such an award.

  • Tremley

    The more I read these articles on here the more I see through the splc as a anti-white hate group!

  • concernedcitizen

    Reynardine you took the words right out of my mouth! I was just thinking, what? I will never buy another Vidalia onion again if they out there codling these racist scumbags.

    And Aron, that is so funny. I remember that with the accent from South Park.

    Can you believe these idiots blaming their lack of success on Mexicans? Maybe the working Mexicans are getting the jobs because they are working and not running around trying to start race wars….

    I’ve known some very successful Mexican Americans and I know they got that way from working diligently.

    According to Griffin, one of the objectives of the rally was to show “our many sympathizers that the league is full of normal, ordinary White Southerners.” He suggested that Murfreesboro and Shelbyville, Tenn., will be the next site, for League rallies – this time to fight “Muslim colonization.”

    I would hardly define white supremacy as being normal. And I am sure there are many white southerners who are embarrassed by these imbeciles.

  • aadila

    This rally is a perfect example of how stripping away people’s civil liberties (vis. no buckles, ornaments, or racist regalia) or restricting their speech (copious attention paid to “mainstreaming” the Neo-Confederate message) is of no account in the war on hate and institutional racism in America. They are hiding their true motives.

    Like so many other outwardly racist organizations such as the Council of Conservative Citizens, Taunton and his internet army of anti-immigrant disinformation and fear-mongering, et al, no amount of superficial political correctness can salve the rotten core whose gangrenous stench of racial villification wafts over the land.

  • Gregory

    Muslim colonization? I thought they had their tighty-whiteys in a wad over Mexican immigrants.

  • Michael Cushman

    This is great. Thanks for spreading the word about our successful event. Even though there are some obvious lies in this article (such as ‘barely whispered racial slurs were heard’ – if they were heard then why doesn’t the anti-Southern activist ‘reporter’ quote them?) it is good to get the word out. I do hope that the SPLC will send an anti-Southern activist to report on our upcoming event in Murfreesboro as we once again stand with the Southern people against our demographic displacement.

  • Aron

    ‘They took our jobs!!!’

  • Reynardine

    Onions will never taste the same.