Sons of Confederate Veterans chief Ron Wilson defies his membership to keep the upper hand in an ongoing split.
In an ongoing skirmish over the future of the 31,400-member Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV), extremist forces led by SCV Commander in Chief Ron Wilson continued to gain the upper hand this spring.
Last winter, Wilson suspended the ideologically split organization's most prominent moderate leader, Commander of the Army of Northern Virginia Charles Hawks, for allegedly violating a gag order that banned members from portraying the SCV "negatively" to the press. On the same grounds, Wilson also suspended 300 other members and several entire SCV chapters, or "camps."
But at a March meeting of the SCV's executive council, a 9-to-8 vote unexpectedly overturned Wilson's suspensions. Several moderate former commanders in chief, who retain voting rights on the council, showed up for the meeting unannounced and voted to return Hawks to his post as one of the SCV's top officials.
Wilson did not take this challenge to his power lying down, issuing an executive order in May that reversed Hawks' reinstatement. According to an E-mail circulated by the SCV's hard-line chief of heritage defense, Wilson ally Allen Sullivant, Wilson "revoked as void and improper" the March vote. No further explanation was publicly offered by Wilson.
In Hawks' stead, Wilson appointed another of his allies, Chris Sullivan of South Carolina. Sullivan is the editor of Southern Partisan, an in-your-face neo-Confederate magazine that has portrayed slaves as happy, slave owners as benevolent Christians and Abraham Lincoln as "a liar" (see also Lincoln Reconstructed).
Wilson and his extremist allies on the SCV Council also passed a motion to sever their relationship with the 1,450-member Military Order of Stars and Bars (MOSB), an SCV affiliate whose members are descended from Confederate officers.
According to MOSB sources, Wilson and his appointees were upset about negative comments MOSB officials made about Wilson's suspensions and his appointments of hate group members to SCV posts. According to a Sullivant E-mail message, the SCV will "buy out" MOSB assets at Elm Springs, the Tennessee plantation house headquarters of the SCV.