More Chaos for Confederate Heritage Advocates

It’s not been a good two weeks for Confederate heritage advocates. They’ve suffered setbacks at Vanderbilt University, the University of Texas, and with the University of Mississippi marching band. They seem helpless to stop the rising tide of opposition to their position, and the best they can do to gain ground is to promise to fly more flags throughout the South.

But it’s the self-inflicted wounds that are just as likely to leave an enduring mark. There’s still fallout from Tripp Lewis’s attack on Karen Cooper. As detailed on Restoring the Honor, while many advocates of Confederate heritage sided with Cooper and denounced Lewis, others, led by Gary Adams of the Southern Heritage Preservation Group, called on Cooper to silence herself instead of denouncing Lewis.


Why, indeed?

Adams’s track record is well known to readers of this blog. He’s quite proud of the fact that he contacted John Stauffer to praise the Harvard professor’s rather underwhelming essay on Black Confederates, and informing the professor that he planned to use Stauffer’s essay at a Civil War Round Table meeting (Stauffer thanked him for the information).


Given Adams’s record for plagiarizing the work of others, perhaps Stauffer has reason to be pleased to see his authorship recognized. Whether he would be so happy to discover that he’s become the darling of Confederate heritage advocates is another matter altogether.

Note: I have no problem with Professor Stauffer mentioning my name as someone who thinks his work on this subject is seriously flawed. If anyone has a problem, it is Professor Stauffer, who seems unable to respond to challenges to his scholarship, although he has no problem assailing the work of others.  

I’m sure many people would wonder why Gary Adams would want a black woman to delete a post deploring the killing of innocent people while saying nothing about the white man who attacked her and called her an idiot. Then again, at least he said something in public. Susan Hathaway remained silent.

So now we have a better idea of the status of black people in the Confederate heritage movement. So long as they read from the same script and nod their heads approvingly, white leaders in the movement will have no problem with them. Speak out, express one’s own point of view, and watch as they come under attack, first from other members, then from a leadership (as well as the always noisome Connie Chastain) that wants black people to understand their place.

But that’s not all. Restoring the Honor has also provided yet more evidence of how leading Virginia Flaggers, including Susan Hathaway and Billy Bearden, support white nationalism. The two Confederate heritage advocates were among those who liked a post celebrating the activities of a German white nationalist group … which reminds us all a little too much of who else supports white nationalism and had a fondness for a particular German approach … Matthew Heimbach. You know, the fellow Tripp Lewis called “a good guy”?

(By the way, Connie Chastain has no problem with white nationalism either:)


Perhaps she’s also unhappy with Karen Cooper.

One notes that most advocates of Confederate heritage remain silent at moments like this. We hear all the time about how Confederate heritage has nothing to do with racism, yet the self-appointed guardians of that heritage, people who have no problem vociferously attacking their critics, remain very quiet at these moments. Or, in the case of Gary Adams, they ask black people to shut up.

As Connie Chastain reminded me recently in a private communication, silence is cowardice. Susan Hathaway’s been silent. So’s Grayson Jennings and Barry Isenhour. So’s Billy Bearden. So are the rest of the Virginia Flaggers. So, for that matter, is Connie Chastain, when it comes to a white man abusing a black woman. Cowards all.

Confederate heritage advocates continue to blame others for their setbacks. Perhaps it’s time that they look instead to what’s happening in their own ranks. It is the actions of these people that give critics of Confederate heritage more than enough evidence to assail the entire enterprise.

After all, a house divided against itself cannot stand.




36 thoughts on “More Chaos for Confederate Heritage Advocates

  1. Shoshana Bee August 28, 2016 / 1:04 pm

    Observing this implosion from the sidelines conjures up a strange mix of a “Lord of the Flies” redux with a dose of schadenfreude on the side.

    • Brooks D. Simpson August 28, 2016 / 1:10 pm

      Well, Ms. Chastain has been throwing tantrums all over the place.

      • Shoshana Bee August 28, 2016 / 1:35 pm

        Maybe she will come out of “retirement” and write another entertaining blog post? It seems that you are her only muse these days 🙂

  2. Andy Hall August 28, 2016 / 1:38 pm

    Adams is a strange bird. He fancies himself a bit of a scholar, and introduces himself sometimes as the head of a Civil War Round Table, in reference to his Facebook group. He’s very concerned that his friends maintain a good public image, and back in early 2013 he sent out a warning that no one should mention Lewis’ name when he got arrested at the VMFA, lest that result in some bad publicity for the group. Same thing here, he wants Cooper to take down documentation of Lewis’ bad behavior. But in neither case could he quite bring himself to actually criticize Lewis. Funny how that works.

    A couple of years ago Michael Hill from the League of the South posted a particularly blunt, nasty message about the League’s determination to protect the interests and priorities of whites over African-Americans, Latinos, and Jews. It was posted on the Facebook group that Adams runs (or claims to) for several hours and got a bunch of “likes” before it was taken down and Hill was banned. Adams waited for two or three days before posting anything about it, and when he did he never said specifically what had been posted that was objectionable, or who posted it. He didn’t have the stones to stand up to someone as odious as Michael Hill and the League of the South.

    Folks like Adams hate to be thought of as bigots, and spend a lot of their time online reassuring each other that they’re really not, and how terribly unfair it all is that so many people think they are. But every time they have a chance to actually do something about the rancid people they have in and around their movement, they ignore them or make excuses for them, and pretend like the problem doesn’t exist.

  3. Andy Hall August 28, 2016 / 1:58 pm

    It’s also been almost two weeks since the SCV national organization announced they were “working tirelessly on a game plan” regarding Vanderbilt, with additional information to follow within 48 hours. But they’ve said nothing since then, as far as I can tell. I suppose they have to make a show of “doing something,” but this particular case was decided more than a decade ago. The SCV wasn’t a party to it then, and it’s hard to see how they could think they would be now.

  4. Rblee22468 August 28, 2016 / 3:11 pm

    It just occurred to me that Cooper is apparently in a tough spot. It looks like the elephant in the room, is that she has two separate sets of handlers. One Muslim, and one Christian. Since we’ve been told that she caved and deleted the thread, I guess the Christian handlers won. Adams wasn’t asking, he told her that she needed to delete it. She did.

  5. Jimmy Dick August 28, 2016 / 8:52 pm

    KKKonnie Chastain is the patron saint of “Lie and Deny” Internet posting. She makes racist posts and then denies that she did. She’s a waste of time screeching about pretty much anything. The nice thing is that she is accomplishing nothing, much like the flaggers, the SCV, the LoSers, and other racist heritage types and groups are doing.

    The best part? By flying those flags and waving signs they’re only making people ask questions which the racists can’t answer without lying. Instead, people turn to experts such as historians to get answers based upon actual facts. The racist heritage types are contributing mightily to their own doom.

    • Brooks D. Simpson August 29, 2016 / 7:37 am

      It is evident that Chastain’s claims of impaired health do not prevent her from posting extensively elsewhere, calling into question her assertion that she no longer blogs due to health concerns. I see no reason to reproduce examples of her crude language and vile temper in my comments section. Apparently she’s looking for a larger audience than she can attract on her own while hiding her views from people who might be interested in reading her novels (an admittedly small number). After all, most people don’t want to buy and read books written by a bigot. She’s an embarrassment to Confederate heritage even as she claims that she is one of its most important spokespersons.

    • Andy Hall August 29, 2016 / 9:47 am

      For a long time the Confederate Heritage™ folks and the white nationalists mostly ignored each other, even though there’s a fair amount of overlap in their followers. When forced to, the heritage people would issue loud-but-pro-forma denunciations of those who had “hijacked” the honorable and sacred symbols of the Confederacy, and the white nationalists would mock the heritage people for their fantasy of the Confederacy as a multicultural meritocracy where race was barely noticed, and irrelevant in the noble struggle against the Yankee invader. But mostly they ignore each other.

      Since the murders in Charleston, though, there’s increasingly been a willingness to cast aside the pretense that there is a bright line dividing these two movements, Confederate Heritage on the one hand, and white nationalism on the other. There never has been such a division, but at least now they’re no longer pretending otherwise. (Recall that white nationalists protesting in Houston the other day were spouting the same “southern heritage” talk that groups like the Virginia Flaggers do.) This coalescing of movements is a good and healthy thing, as unpleasant as it is. If groups like the SCV are to survive in any meaningful form for another generation, it will only be because they address this problem directly and honestly. I have my doubts that they will, because they’ve shown no willingness to do so up to now, but they still might.

      • Brooks D. Simpson August 29, 2016 / 10:08 am

        I think the SCV doesn’t want to eat away at its own base by cleansing it of these folks. Of course, that has consequences, including the erosion of its base as other parties leave.

      • Jimmy Dick August 29, 2016 / 10:12 am

        The SCV needs to come clean and acknowledge the reality of the past instead of trying to support myths built on lies. At the same time it must repudiate the racism prevalent in its ranks. I really do not see either one of these happening. Therefore, the SCV is either going to cease to exist or become just another white supremacist group operating on the fringe.

      • Shoshana Bee August 29, 2016 / 10:17 am

        Andy, won’t the embrace of white nationalists by the SCV create havoc in their attempts to promote Black Confederate Soldier ancestry/membership?

        • Andy Hall August 29, 2016 / 6:42 pm

          I don’t expect the heritage folks and the white nationalist crowd to formally merge and join hands explicitly. But there has always been overlap between those groups, and they don’t seem to be bothered too much by the other. For the heritage crowd, in particular, all they need to do is keep the white nationalists at arms length, just outside of camera shot, and it’s all good. They don’t mind those folks, so much is they don’t want to be *seen* with those folks.

          There’s one person I’m thinking of, for example, who participates in Confederate heritage events in uniform, and then goes home and posts on white nationalist blogs with a sign off of WPWW, which stands for White Pride World Wide.

          This person has also made a point of posing for photographs with HK Edgerton, which I can only guess is important in case anyone ever questions his attitude toward African-Americans. Which is why I’ve been saying for a long time that, whatever Edgerton’s motivations are, for a lot of Confederate heritage folks, he serves first and foremost as a beard.

  6. bob carey August 29, 2016 / 11:02 am

    The SCV would have no recruitment problems if descendants of all those “black confederates” would choose to join. Now that would be an interesting development.

  7. Jimmy Dick August 29, 2016 / 4:22 pm

    Now KKKonnie is claiming Native American ancestry as proof she isn’t racist. For someone who has identified herself as white, proudly announced her racism for years on multiple blogs, and has no clue whatsoever what Native Americans have been through, I find her claim to be nothing more than the usual attempt to mask her racism.

    I think we should let the Cherokee nation know just exactly who she is and what she claims to be and see if they want such a miserable excuse for humanity as a member of their tribe.

    • Shoshana Bee August 29, 2016 / 7:15 pm

      WHUT???!! Beeing of half Native ancestry. nothing irritates me more when some two-bit racist hag wants to hide behind our feathers to justify her BS. I will out her sorry arse six ways to September if I see her mug cozying up to our table (I belong to a very large Native social network). What a #$$% coward poser. Geez, I must be out of the loop — I missed that one.

  8. Leo August 30, 2016 / 1:37 pm

    It looks like all 8 public universities in Mississippi will remove the state flag very soon.

    Two more Mississippi universities have stopped flying the state’s flag, which prominently features the Confederate battle emblem.

    Mississippi State University and the Mississippi University for Women confirmed Tuesday that they had taken down the state’s flag from outdoor flagpoles over the summer. The universities’ actions came after state lawmakers failed to act on changing the flag this year.

    “The university community supports a flag that unites everyone in the state behind it,” said Jim Borsig, president of the Mississippi University for Women.

    Delta State University is the only public Mississippi university still flying the flag. A statement from that school Tuesday opened the door to removing it if the university cabinet votes to do so.

  9. Scott Ledridge August 31, 2016 / 9:52 am

    Slightly off topic… by… a lot…

    Did you see yesterday that Trump proclaimed his pride in being in the party of Lincoln? The crowd cheeeeered. I thought he obviously didn’t look at the polls on what his voters think of Lincoln before making that statement. He followed that with stressing that he would make this one nation again. It was like he was intentionally trolling the crowd to see if he could get them to boo.

    They didn’t. They cheered and cheered.

    • Andy Hall August 31, 2016 / 1:50 pm

      The modern, make-believe Confederates are solidly behind Trump, but his Coalition of the Aggrieved extends will beyond that. It almost doesn’t matter that his positions on specific issues are continually shifting or are even contradictory, because specific policy has never really been the core of his appeal. His supporters are trusting him to stick it to all the people they feel are responsible for the things that have made them uneasy and insecure. It works on a primal level.

  10. Shoshana Bee August 31, 2016 / 6:14 pm

    Andy Hall: “It works on a primal level”

    This statement says so much to me about the whole of everything: Trump supporters, confederate heritage, white nationalists, black confederate soldier believers — did I leave anything out? None of it is based on anything rational. Nobody is interested in the facts, details, history, recent history — these folks process everything in that part of the brain left over from our Neanderthal days.

    • Andy Hall August 31, 2016 / 8:23 pm

      People believe these things for internal reasons, not external.

      • Leo September 1, 2016 / 7:23 am


        Despite Trump being on record saying the confederate flag belongs in a museum, his supporters in heritage circles seem to turn a blind eye to that fact. When his son spoke at the Neshoba County Fair in Mississippi, the Trump staffers had all the confederate flags removed from the speaking venue. When asked about the state flag, Donald Jr. gave a very tepid response that danced around full support for the Mississippi flag. Even at that, the response doesn’t balance with what his father has said on the confederate flag. It’s pandering at best but the heritage crowd just can’t see it.

        • Andy Hall September 1, 2016 / 9:26 am

          Their hearing is selective. Last year Ben Carson, then running for the GOP nomination, compared the Confederate flag to a Nazi swastika, but allowed that local communities needed to make up their own minds what to do about it. This was interpreted by the heritage folks as likely support for the Virginia Flaggers: “This stance sounds like Ben Carson supports the roadside battle flag strategy.”


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