The First Freedom, a stalwart publication of the neo-Confederate movement, appears to be nearing its demise.
Olaf Childress, 85, of rural Silverhill, Alabama, started the racist mailer in the late 1990’s. The First Freedom styles itself as a newspaper, though its contents usually amount to little more than 24 pages of rants by Childress against ZOG, the “media’cracy,” Barack Obama, and the 14th amendment.
On June 22, 2018, longtime white supremacist Michael David Carothers, aka Michael Weaver, shared the following post on Facebook:
It is with much sadness I must announce the closing of the First Freedom newspaper due to lack of staff. I was notified of this action today via snail mail. I tried to call the editor to see if I can keep it alive but no answer.
(Childress did not respond to Hatewatch’s request for comment.)
The First Freedom’s list of contributors is a who’s who of the far-right in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s. Domain records indicate that Childress registered firstfreedom.net in 2010 to distribute the paper online.
Jake Laskey — a member of the neo-Nazi group Volksfront who served a decade behind bars after lobbing swastika-etched bricks at a synagogue — penned a piece for the site, as did Greg Kay, the author of the militantly racist “The Third Revolution” series and former chairman of the West Virginia League of the South.
The publication received some notoriety after a physical copy of one of its issues was found in the apartment of Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Regarding the incident, Childress stated “We’ve got subscribers all over the country and foreign countries as well,” Childress said. “That doesn’t mean we’ve incited those two boys.”
In 2008, Childress garnered headlines for a stunt involving a planned burial of the 14th amendment on the banks of the Potomac River. The incident was recounted in The First Freedom in an article titled “Alabama’s Mossad-trained stooges capture politically-incorrect hearse.”
Childress’ plan to shuttle a casket containing a copy of the 14th Amendment in a purple hearse with a car horn that played “Dixie” was scuttled when he ran into a “Click it or Ticket” traffic stop a few miles from home. Childress refused to produce his license or registration and twice attempted to flee authorities before he was captured. In an appeal to his conviction for driving with a suspended license and evading arrest, among other charges, Childress stated, “that he is not subject to the laws of the State of Alabama or its municipalities because the 14th Amendment does not apply to him as the State was illegally occupied and conquered by the federal government during the Civil War.”
Specifically, Childress appears to contend that because he is a “white” man, all laws enacted after the Civil War do not apply to him.
Childress later took to the site to recount a 2011 trespassing arrest that occurred while he was distributing copies of The First Freedom during a mock inauguration of a Jefferson Davis impersonator on the steps of the Alabama State Capitol.
Childress described his arrest after refusing to obey an officer’s instructions:
Because I refused to meekly obey that pair of Montgomery cops’ order to leave, they grabbed both my arms, dragged me around the corner and, assisted by four additional MPD goons and two SWATskis, shoved my face against a plate-glass wall while twisting my arms up behind me, buckling on leg irons and handcuffs, then hauling this ageing journalist off to spend the entire day with no food or water, nor toilet or place to sit, stripped to his underwear in a cold, wet cell.
In addition to his work on The First Freedom, Childress authored a slew of posts in 2015 and 2016 for RenegadeTribune.com, a conspiracy theory site.
Childress seemed emboldened by the candidacy of Donald J. Trump in 2015, attending at least one rally to pass out copies of The First Freedom.
The most recent copy of The First Freedom available on its website was published in April 2018.