The Hatewatch blog is managed by the staff of the Intelligence Project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, an Alabama-based civil rights organization.
Glenn McConnell was selected last Saturday to be the next president of the College of Charleston. McConnell is South Carolina’s current Lieutenant Governor and a veteran of the South Carolina State Senate, where he served from 1981 until 2012. He’s also an avid Civil War reenactor, an active member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and the former proprietor of a Confederate memorabilia shop.
McConnell’s interest in and promotion of Confederate history and culture have been a hallmark of his three decades in public office – and a steady source of controversy. This history is at the core of the opposition to his appointment among College of Charleston students and faculty.
McConnell made headlines in 2010 when he was photographed in a Confederate uniform posing with two African Americans portraying slaves. And in 2002, McConnell, then one of the most influential figures in state government, came to the defense of racist barbecue baron Maurice Bessinger, owner of the Piggie Park chain.
Bessinger was under siege for displaying the Confederate flag and selling racist tracts at his restaurants, including a pamphlet entitled “The Biblical Justification for Slavery.” When South Carolina’s only Fortune 500 company, electric and gas giant SCANA, banned employees from parking company trucks at Piggie Park restaurants, McConnell “threatened a legislative vendetta” against the company if it didn’t reverse course. He called SCANA’s actions a “basic slap at free speech and freedom of expression” and accused the company of “discriminating against a man’s business because of his political beliefs.” (Be sure to check out this old Daily Show clip featuring South Carolina-native Stephen Colbert interviewing both McConnell and Bessinger.)
McConnell established himself as a defender of the Confederacy in 1996 when South Carolina’s Republican governor, David Beasley, proposed removing the Confederate flag from the capitol dome. McConnell denounced the proposal as “cultural genocide” and compared the governor to Neville Chamberlain for making peace with “militants” – in this case, not the Nazis, but the NAACP. Beasley’s proposal failed and he lost his next election, due in part to anger over his proposal. The flag debate went on. ( continue to full post… )
Forty-three years after it was integrated by court order, Nathan Bedford Forrest High School in Jacksonville, Fla., will drop the name of the Confederate general who ran an infamous antebellum slaveyard, presided over the massacre of surrendering black Yankee troops, and was the first national leader of the Ku Klux Klan.
It was a long time coming.
Initial efforts to change the name of the school, whose student body is now 61% black, were made in the early 1990s but failed. A second attempt, led by local sociology professor Lance Stoll and a few of his students, also failed in 2007, even though Stoll surveyed the local community and jumped through a series of hoops imposed by the school board. The board defied its own policies then, with members voting 5-2 along racial lines to keep the name of the infamous Confederate. ( continue to full post… )
At 22, Matthew Heimbach is a rising white nationalist star, just as eager to get into bed with graying Southern secessionists as he is with steel-toe-boot-wearing neo-Nazis.
Over the past few months, he has rallied with the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan at the invitation of Thom Robb, a Christian Identity pastor who leads the group and for whom Heimbach claims to have “great respect.” He has stood side by side with the Aryan Terror Brigade, and he plans to attend a rally this weekend with the neo-Nazi National Socialist Movement (NSM) in Kansas City on the 75th anniversary of Kristallnacht, the Nazi pogrom that left more than 90 Jews dead and some 30,000 imprisoned in concentration camps.
It has been a meteoric rise for someone so young, the likes of which have not really been seen since the anti-Semite David Duke appeared on the campus of Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, dressed as a neo-Nazi and railing against the “Zionist Occupied Government.”
In fact, Heimbach’s profile on the radical right has risen so quickly that rumors have spread across online forums that he is privately working as a federal informant, or even as an agent of Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency. None of that is true, Heimbach says with a wry grin. But what he is more than willing to admit is that in the years since forming the controversial White Student Union at Towson University in Maryland, where he graduated this year with a degree in history, he been thoroughly radicalized. ( continue to full post… )
Tennessee State Senator Frank Niceley will be a featured speaker tomorrow at the “sixth session” of the Southern National Congress. Despite Niceley’s denials, the group is in fact an offshoot of the League of South, a neo-Confederate hate group that calls for a second secession.
The Southern National Congress first met in Montgomery, Ala., with the stated aim of creating “a permanent forum for the expression of distinct Southern interests, Southern grievances, and Southern solutions.” The Associated Press reported at the time that the “League of the South, a Southern independence group that is viewed as marginal and extremist by critics, is organizing the event.”
The two groups are tightly linked to this day. The current Southern National Congress chairman, Rev. David O. Jones, also chairs the Tennessee chapter of the League of the South, and so on. Nonetheless, Niceley has taken to Twitter to say the groups have little, if anything, to do with one another.
Whether or not Niceley understands the connection between the groups, he has much in common with both. As the Tennessean reported yesterday, he is broadly supportive of Southern secession:
He agrees with the group’s idea that the South might one day be its own nation, like each of the 13 colonies after the American Revolution.
“They delegated a little power to central government. When that fails, we go back to being independent nations,” he said. “We could team up with New Jersey and Oregon if we wanted to.”
Niceley will use his time tomorrow with the neo-Confederates to propose an end-run around the Seventeenth Amendment, which provides the direct election of US Senators. His proposal would reportedly end party primaries, thereby “allowing the legislature’s partisan caucuses to pick the candidates instead.”
As described in the Southern National Congress newsletter (which misspelled Niceley’s name), the proposal would “change the electoral dynamics of the US Senate as the Senators would have to be more responsive to the States rather than that nebulous concept of ‘the people.’”
Ah yes, “the people” is such a nebulous concept. Better to let the Republican legislative caucus decide instead of those pesky voters. That’s what real democracy looks like to a secessionist.
Since word spread about three weeks ago that the neo-Confederate League of the South (LOS) was coming to middle Tennessee this weekend to protest immigration and refugee resettlement, local anti-racists have been working hard to make sure the group’s stay is as uncomfortable as possible.
“We are completely non-violent,” Darlene Neal of the Tennessee Anti Racist Network told Hatewatch. “But we want to disrupt the League’s process, because their process is one of hate mongering and creating divisiveness in communities wherever they go.”
So far, so good. ( continue to full post… )
Earlier this week, racist one-time student organizer Matthew Heimbach assured his followers that he would not throw his neo-Nazi allies “under the bus,” saying it was time to abandon fear and create a “big White Advocacy tent.”
Now, a chief ally is throwing him under the bus instead.
Last night, Michael Hill, head of the neo-secessionist hate group League of the South (LOS), disinvited Heimbach and his followers from an LOS march set for this weekend in Murfreesboro, Tenn. The rally was against the “demographic displacement” of white southerners by people of color. ( continue to full post… )
A controversial course on the United States Constitution developed by a board member of the neo-Confederate, pro-secessionist League of the South (LOS) and aired by the influential National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) is “to be removed” from the network, a spokesman for NRB told Hatewatch today.
“It is actually going to be going down,” the spokesman, Kenneth Chan, said of the 12-week course presented by the Institute on the Constitution (IOTC), which was co-founded by Maryland-based lawyer Michael Peroutka, the LOS board member who developed the course and teaches it on NRB.
But it’s unclear when the course will be removed from the NRB lineup. Only one session remains to be broadcast and is scheduled to air Thursday. Chan referred further inquirers on timing and on the impact of a pastor’s petition drive seeking to have the program removed to the president of the network, Troy Miller. ( continue to full post… )
The South Carolina chapter of the League of the South has a new chairman, Michael Cushman, who comes complete with neo-Nazi ties for the neo-Confederate hate group.
This past weekend, the chapter’s board of directors voted to replace former Chairman Lourie A. Salley with Cushman, 36, of Aiken, S.C.
Cushman, who has been heavily involved in a new wave of LOS demonstrations against what the group calls “Southern demographic displacement,” hopes to buff up the group’s image. ( continue to full post… )
If you didn’t know it already, this is Constitution Week across the country. Smack dab in the middle in Ohio, the Daniel Cooper chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) wanted to do something special this year to commemorate the 226-year-old document. But what? The group wasn’t exactly sure. “I haven’t read the Constitution since high school, many decades ago,” chapter head Betsey Taylor told Hatewatch.
Probably most Americans could make the same confession, so the women of the Daniel Cooper chapter decided to take a 12-week Constitution course and invite everyone in their Dayton, Ohio-area community — from teenagers to grandparents — to join them. But it isn’t the traditional civics-class version of the Constitution course they hope to share. The class Daniel Cooper has signed up for and is promoting is a highly controversial lecture series offered by the far-right Institute on the Constitution (IOTC). ( continue to full post… )
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. ( continue to full post… )