Sons of Confederate Veterans' Future Remains Unknown
Although his reform attempts failed in Asheville, Wilson and his allies did manage to successfully launch one project in July. The first issue of The Southern Mercury, a magazine subtitled "Unpardoned, Unrepentant, Unreconstructed" and described by Wilson as "the latest weapon in the war for our Southern heritage," was published under the rubric of the newly created Foundation for the Preservation of American Culture, a nonprofit arm of the SCV.
The magazine's board is stacked with Wilson allies, including James Ronald Kennedy of the League of the South and Boyd Cathey (see (Re)writing History), an editorial advisor for years for the publication of the Institute for Historical Review, a leading Holocaust denial organization.
The magazine is part of Wilson's effort to radicalize the SCV and to take on its perceived enemies. (One major story attacks the Southern Poverty Law Center, which publishes the Intelligence Report). It is edited by Frank Powell, an executive board member who also now edits the SCV's Confederate Veteran magazine.
The Southern Mercury is thick with nostalgia for the antebellum South, and features revisionist takes on slavery. In one article, author Frank Conner argues that the SCV should fight to protect the "unique belief-system of the Old South" and goes on to describe desegregation efforts as an attack on that system.
"Beginning in the late 1950s, under the guise of providing the Southern blacks with civil rights, the Northern liberals sent the federal government to invade the South and systematically destroy the Old South and crush and suppress its belief system," Conner writes.
With efforts like The Southern Mercury now under way, Wilson is working hard to extend his influence within the SCV. Though he and his allies lost the battle of Asheville, they seem confident that they are steadily gaining power.
That will come to a final test in July 2004, when the SCV holds its next full convention and a whole new slate of officers will be voted in. If Wilson and his allies can consolidate their position, the SCV could be headed for status as a full-fledged hate group.