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Olaf Childress, neo-Confederate activist, dies at 85

Neo-Confederate activist Olaf O. Childress, 85, of Silverhill, Alabama, died on July 20.

Childress was the editor of The First Freedom, a racist and antisemitic publication that recently shut down due to lack of staff. His funeral took place today in nearby Robertsdale.  

During the approximate 20-year run of The First Freedom, Childress promoted racism, antisemitism, Holocaust denial and other bizarre conspiracy theories, including neo-Confederate doctrine. He consistently ranted against the “Zionist Occupied Government,” the “media’cracy,” former President Barack Obama and the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which granted full citizenship rights to all people born in the United States, including former black slaves who had been emancipated after the Civil War.

The list of contributors to The First Freedom represented a broad cross-section of the white supremacist movement in America, including Jake Laskey of Volksfront, Michael Hill and Greg Kay of the League of the South, Matthew Heimbach, Andrew Anglin and Billy Roper, who announced the death of Childress, in a blog last Sunday.      

In 2008, as part of a political stunt, Childress attempted to transport a copy of the 14th Amendment from his home in Alabama to the shores of the Potomac River in Washington, D.C., for burial. Using a 1995 Buick Roadmaster outfitted with Confederate battle flags, which he dubbed the "Death to the 14th Amendment hearse,” Childress’ mission failed when he encountered a police checkpoint where he was asked to provide a driver’s license and insurance. After informing the officer that she had no legal right to stop him, Childress was arrested and his so-called “hearse” was impounded (he paid $135 to retrieve it two days later). On July 2, 2008, a judge found Childress guilty of resisting arrest, driving without insurance, failing to obey a police officer and driving with an expired tag.

The First Freedom gained some brief national notoriety when a copy was found in the apartment of Tamerlan Tsarnaev, one of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombers.

In a 2013 interview with AL.com, Childress insisted he was not a white supremacist but, rather, a “white separatist,” stating “We do notice that there are differences between the white race and other races.”

On August 16, 2003, Childress handed out copies of The First Freedom at a rally supporting Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore. Moore had recently refused a federal court order to remove a marble monument of the Ten Commandments he had placed in the rotunda of the Alabama Judicial Building (three months later, Moore was removed from his position by the Alabama Court of the Judiciary).  

 

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