No group has shown more fury over recent campaigns to remove the Confederate battle flag from the public eye than the neo-Confederate League of the South (LOS).
Following the tragic events in Charleston this past June, and the subsequent high-profile removal of the Confederate flag from spaces like the South Carolina Statehouse grounds, protests have erupted across the South and the group has eagerly sought to capitalize on events.
Members have taken to the soapbox to make fiery speeches and appeals for membership, arguing against what they see as a “cultural genocide” against southerners akin to what ISIS has perpetrated in Iraq.
In one speech on the steps of the Alabama State Capital in late June, William Flowers, vice chairman of the LOS in Georgia, proclaimed, “It lifts my spirits to see so many of you here to fight for your heritage, and to defend your livelihoods, and to protect what you love most and hold dear.
“We are pushing now to reach out and grab the hearts and minds of our fellow southerners and to pull them into believing that the politicians have betrayed them," Flowers said.
That was only the beginning. A month later, LOS president Michael Hill urged his followers to prepare for armed resistance if efforts to rid the country of the battle flag continued.
“Southerners, arm yourselves, organize yourselves, and be prepared to defend your lives and property from those lawless elements that threaten them,” Hill wrote. “We encourage all patriotic Southerners to join us in The League of the South. Together, we can turn back the assaults of the Cultural Marxists and put them on the run.”
Since late 2013, when it began a major initiative to hit the streets with its message, the League has been one of the most outwardly active hate groups in the United States, frequently holding street rallies with deceptively mainstream conservative themes. This map, highlighting official LOS events, demonstrates the significant reach of its efforts as its rhetoric becomes increasingly extreme and the controversy around southern symbols remains dangerously combustible.