Do Flaggers Wear Hoods? Susan Hathaway and Her Klan-Loving Friend

One of the most interesting aspects of writing about Confederate heritage advocates, especially the Virginia Flaggers, is highlighting the associations of various Flaggers with white supremacists, white nationalists, and the like. Mind you, usually these associations are brought to our attention by the Flaggers themselves in social media or elsewhere. Thus it was the Flaggers themselves who hailed Matthew Heimbach as a fellow Flagger and embraced him in one of their marches (even Connie Chastain used one image in preparing a dust cover of yet another never-to-be-published book, as you can see here):

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Tripp Lewis and Matthew Heimbach featured in a Connie Chastain design.

Even Chastain admits Heimbach’s a Flagger. Otherwise she’d never have prepared this design.

But Heimbach isn’t the only white supremacist/white nationalist embraced by Susan Hathaway. Nor does she protest when her writings turn up in anti-Semitic newsletters.

To highlight these association brings all sorts of protests from Flagger defenders and apologists, who have become very inventive if not very persuasive in their responses/excuses.

However, we did not take the pictures. We did not march alongside these people. We did not thank them on social media. We did not allow Flagger writings to appear in bigoted or racist literature.

All of our evidence has been manufactured by the Flaggers themselves as they seek to publicize what they do … and no one is more willing to do that than Susan Frise Hathaway.

So it should come as no surprise to anyone that more Flagger-provided evidence has surfaced linking Susan Hathaway to yet another white supremacist, one with a fondness for the Ku Klux Klan … Steven Monk.

Here are some images Mr. Monk shared on a social media group page:
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Sometimes Mr. Monk wears gray. Sometimes he wears black:

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Over at Restoring the Honor there’s a rather full set of images illustrating Mr. Monk’s beliefs. Among the images, we come across the following …

hathaway-and-monkOh, yes … don’t forget Billy Bearden. He’s there, too.

So we see Susan Hathaway, celebrating the Confederacy atop Stone Mountain with a fellow who seems rather fond of white supremacy, to the point that he doesn’t mind using a Klan hood as his profile picture (sortta destroys the rationale for the hood, right?).

It’s not the first time Hathaway and Monk have been pictured as cut from the same cloth … why, the link was made years ago, according to someone who remarked upon Hathaway’s decision to take up flagging, some five years ago this month:

Based upon my own experiences, and watching, talking, and reading of your own activities – you are cut from the same cloth as such Flagger legends as Lijah Coleman, Grayson Jennings, Clint Lacy, HK, Ken Waters, Steven Monk, Rodney Waller and Patricia Godwin.

Oh, and guess who else likes Steven Monk? Why, Connie Chastain!

You’ll find other Flaggers and Confederate heritage celebrities also like Mr. Monk.

But Susan Frise Hathaway likes him a lot.

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So much for the notion that this was merely an accident or the ill-timed click of a camera shutter.

The evidence linking the Virginia Flaggers to white supremacists is rather large enough as it is … but it keeps on growing. So please don’t tell me it’s heritage, not hate, because it’s all too clearly a heritage of hate, and Susan Hathaway’s associations remind us of that every day.

Karen Cooper and the Virginia Flaggers: Another View

One of the more striking aspects of the current Confederate heritage correctness movement, at least in the eyes of the national media, is the presence of African Americans in the ranks of such advocates. Sometimes these people receive a great deal of attention, while sometimes they seek it (and look to make a little money off it, as in the case of H. K. Edgerton).

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Karen Cooper and H. K. Edgerton

Karen Cooper has climbed to national prominence as a member of the Virginia Flaggers. Confederate heritage groups love to photograph her holding a Confederate flag while standing defiantly alongside her white associates. She’s a favorite interview subject. Her declaration that “slavery was a choice” made headlines in the online world, while her performance in front of the Charlottesville City Council left people scratching their heads. Occasionally the Flaggers and their advocates slip in their treatment of Cooper, and it is in those moments that we catch a revealing glimpse of their true sentiments. Those moments do not escape careful observers.

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Daryle Lamont Jenkins

One such observer is Daryle Lamont Jenkins, founder of One People’s Project. This organization keeps an eye on white supremacy groups, exposing their actions and highlighting their beliefs.  Fresh from an appearance on The Rachel Maddow Show, Jenkins reflected on what the recent Facebook exchange between Cooper and Flagger celebrity Tripp Lewis says about how Confederate heritage advocates have used Cooper to advance their own agenda while struggling to define her role … and her place.

Over the past few years, I have seen an uptick of Black, Hispanic and Asian people embracing White Supremacists and neo-Fascism. There’s no other way to put it really. It is truly that black and white. It might cause folks to scratch their heads over the notion, but a few weeks ago I went to a neo-Confederate rally in Mississippi and got into it with a Black neo-Confederate from Oklahoma who was rubbing elbows with members of the White Supremacist League of the South – and he was one of several at that rally doing so. My group One People’s Project also had to recently deal with a Black/Dominican man posing as a Muslim that infiltrated our small organization to gather information about anti-racists and give that information to a neo-Nazi organization he was affiliated with. So there’s no hyperbole when I say that they are supporting right-wing hatemongers.

Now it’s nothing new, really. I am used to seeing people of color embrace the right and ignoring how much they are being used as a shield against very valid charges of racism. But in 2016, that is a much different animal. We have more persons of color becoming a part of mainstream society, more than we ever had in American history. It makes complete sense that there will be some that will become a part of mainstream conservative society as well, and it isn’t going to always mean that they are selling out or hating on their culture and heritage, although there are still a huge number of those that are more than happy to do so. There is a more defined dividing line between those of color who are truly conservative and those who are simply surrogates for racists.

Karen Cooper’s history would indeed suggest that she was a part of that latter crowd when her strong defenses of the Confederacy and a particularly downright laughable and appalling comment in a video spotlighting those defenses that “slavery was a choice” because slaves could have “chosen to die” instead. Then she speaks out publicly against police brutality and the bigoted attacks on Muslims in this country (she is a former member of the Nation of Islam). She is a Libertarian and at the very least, that means she is more about bringing people together than pulling them apart. So although many might think she might be a little wrongheaded in her approach, ultimately she is not what we see in the rest of that Flagger crowd, the ones who thought they could use her as that aforementioned “shield”. And that is where they come to their current conflict.

The Flaggers are treating Cooper as their pet Negro, and when they saw her effectively talking back to one of them, they wanted to make her heel. Her butting heads with Tripp Lewis, a Virginia Flagger who is a little too supportive of hate politics and the people who push them caused one of them, Gary Adams, to want to reign her in after she clashed with Lewis for his anti-Muslim shots at her, as opposed to him. To be clear about it, many in that group are defending Cooper, but Adams wanted her to delete the entire exchange and call him and other Flagger leaders about the situation. If Cooper has ever felt she needed to inch away from this group, she more than likely went a few more inches away with this incident.

As well she should.

I don’t think Karen Cooper is a bad person. I definitely don’t think she’s a stupid person. I think that she has bad politics, or at the very least a bad approach to them. But I truly hope that this particular episode causes her to realize that the people around her might not be her friends and she is on a very wrong road. You can be sure the rest of us do.

We await the usual cries of outrage from Confederate heritage advocates. We also wonder whether Karen Cooper will respond … or whether her white handlers friends allow to her respond.

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.

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Why, indeed? Continue reading

More Trouble in Flaggerland: Tripp Lewis Versus Karen Cooper

Over in Virginia Whine Country there’s trouble east of the Shenandoah Valley as well … and it’s not unexpected. After all, it’s been a contentious election year, and the nastiness of the campaign is reflected in the rather coarse contempt people display for each other on social media.

A case in point: a recent Facebook exchange between Virginia Flagger headliners Tripp Lewis and Karen Cooper. Lewis seeks attention far more than does Cooper, although Cooper’s not adverse to sharing her views with the media. We have no record of Cooper being arrested for Flagger-related activities: this is not the case with Lewis. Nor do we have any record that Cooper has been a part of any Flagger activities that have backfired: this is not the case with Lewis. Finally, we have no record of Cooper celebrating white nationalists as “good guys”: this is not the case with Lewis. But, as the following exchange suggests, those are not the only differences … Continue reading

The Virginia Flaggers’ Next Target: Alexandria?

By now we all know that the Virginia Flaggers, perhaps the most notorious Confederate heritage group in existence (and certainly among the most amusing as well as most visible), is dedicated to restoring the honor by returning the flags. However, to date they have not made much of an impact in the Old Dominion in the northern part of the state. At present the northernmost Flagger triumph east of the Blue Ridge Mountains is at Stafford, along I-95 north of Fredericksburg.

Now comes word that the folks in Alexandria, Virginia, are also taking steps to diminish the city’s commemoration of the Confederacy. Already the city’s taken action to cease flying Confederate flags on public property. Now up for debate is a proposal to cease calling US Route 1 “Jefferson Davis Highway.” Left untouched is a statute honoring the service of Confederate veterans that remains an iconic part of the city.

Continue reading

The Character of The Virginia Flaggers

While most Americans have been preoccupied with far more serious issues involving the future of this country, Connie Chastain has returned to blogging in yet another attempt to portray the Virginia Flaggers as victims. This time, it’s “character assassination,” although Chastain favors the wording “to character assassinate” for some odd reason.

Continue reading

Susan Hathaway Explains

In a break from tradition that nevertheless sounds traditional themes, Susan Hathaway of the Virginia Flaggers took to Facebook to share her reaction to the revelation that a Confederate heritage activist she had once praised for his action to protect children had been arrested on fifty counts of charges concerning child pornography transactions.

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You can see I’ve gotten someone’s attention. 🙂

Susan Hathaway sure knows a lot about blogs she claims she hasn’t read in a year or so. Of course, she’s also made that claim in past years. But she also claims to know why people do what they do. Just like Connie Chastain does.

By the way, my speaking schedule remains as crowded as ever. My, my, but she can’t get anything straight.

But I do like that she’s finally admitted that she’s the head of the Flaggers. She’s not like Connie Chastain, who can’t make up her mind as to whether she’s a Flagger or knows what they say or do. Call that situational membership.

Susan continues:

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Note the lack of concern about the victims of child pornography. But then the Flaggers were not concerned about a child who was kidnapped by a Flagger, or when a Flagger got himself arrested in front of his children (as they were videotaping him). So, nothing new here.

Of course, Hathaway did not just know Jason Sulser. She praised him:

Sulser and Hathaway (2)

Susan’s deepest respect? Must not be worth much. “You are the reason none of our women or children were seriously injured.” How ironic.

Susan concludes:

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Yes, Susan, your words, deeds, and actions speak for themselves. Mind reminding us why you no longer appear at the War Memorial Chapel at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts? And let’s not forget the need to invoke God … that same God that brought you Rob Walker.

Next you’ll claim that none of you ever knew anything about Matthew Heimbach. Or that you had no idea that this was happening. And on, and on, and on …

We’ve seen this movie before, folks. No doubt we’ll see it again.

Once question remains for sincere advocates of Confederate heritage: Are you mad enough yet?

 

 

Trouble in Flaggerland

Readers of this blog will recall that Confederate heritage advocates, led by Connie Chastain (the webmaster and sometimes spokesperson for the Virginia Flaggers … especially when spokesperson Susan Hathaway falls silent, as she is wont to do in situations like the one we’re about to discuss), were overjoyed to find out that among the commenters on this blog were two people who had been charged with sexual offenses. That one was in fact a frequent commenter on one of Chastain’s old social media sites and that it was rather broadly known that I despised the person in question made no difference; that it soon became known that another Confederate heritage advocate whom Chastain had embraced as a friend apparently had prior knowledge of that person’s child pornography habit but remained quiet was hurriedly concealed. And, of course, there was the case of the Confederate heritage advocate who doubled as a fandom writer who liked to write about cartoon character minors having sex … the Confederate heritage gang quickly made excuses for that as “art.”

Somehow, to attack this blog because of the criminal activities of two people who once commented on it (I blocked both of them) seemed a stretch, especially in light of the white supremacists whom the Virginia Flaggers embraced as allies, friends, and business associates. After all, I did not know either of these people, and they were not my associates: I thought one was a jerk. That the fandom writer was particularly exercised about my decision to ban these commenters stuck me as rather curious but fairly predictable given what passes for logic and integrity among the Flaggers and their friends. Nevertheless, child pornography is a horrible and disgusting crime, and sexual assault is inexcusable. I would hope we can all agree on that.

Well, now we’ll see exactly how outraged Hathaway, Chastain, and their ilk in the heritage community are at the news that one of their own, Jason Sulser, has been charged with 50 counts concerning the distribution of child pornography. Sulser’s a highly-visible Confederate heritage advocate, having once started a petition calling for the removal of John Hennessy as the NPS historian at Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania NMP.

This blog has long been aware that Hathaway once praised a registered sex offender as a gift from the Almighty, but declined to pursue that story. In this case, however, other sources broke the tale even as it made its way through Confederate heritage groups.

We can now expect Hathaway and company to pretend they never knew the person in question. And we should know better. Recall that Flagger favorite Tripp Lewis declared that white supremacist Matthew Heimbach was “a good guy.” Well, let’s see what Hathaway said about Sulser last year after that ill-fated rally in Washington:

Sulser and Hathaway (2)

So, Mr. Sulser, how do you reconcile these child pornography charges with your pledge to “run towards trouble to protect every woman and child in a dangerous situation”? Seems to me that you were rather fond of some of those “dangerous situations,” if these charges have merit.

Methinks Hathaway will have to reconsider that claim that “none of our women and children were seriously injured” given that child pornography injures and exploits children. But who knows? Let’s just hope she doesn’t invite him to the Flagger picnic this year, as she did last year (reminding us that the Hathaway-Sulser link was not a one-time-only affair).

Now, in years past, Chastain would start blaring and braying and baying and flailing away at her blog, but Backsass is basically Sadsass nowadays. Nevertheless, I’m sure she’ll comment, and her comment will contain false and misleading information … but she’ll do it because poor old Susan Hathaway will be too skeered to say anything. Just watch.

It will be interesting to see how Hathaway, her Flagger friends, and other Confederate heritage advocates spin this one.

Will the Ku Klux Klan Rise Again?

Basically, that’s the question offered in this article from the Associated Press (a video will eventually play to augment the article).

I was particularly struck by the following claim in the article:

Formed just months after the end of the Civil War by six former Confederate officers, the Klan originally seemed more like a college fraternity with ceremonial robes and odd titles for its officers. But soon, freed blacks were being terrorized, and the Klan was blamed. Hundreds of people were assaulted or killed as whites tried to regain control of the defeated Confederacy. Congress effectively outlawed the Klan in 1871, and the group died.

The curious construction of the second sentence, complete with the double use of the passive voice, is remarkable. Might the Reconstruction KKK have had something to do with conducting a war of terror against freed blacks (and their white allies)?

Maybe. Just maybe.

As for the rest of the muddled narrative, let’s assume that the author has at best a partial understanding of the Ku Klux Act of 1871, how President Grant used the powers it authorized him to use, and the degree to which Grant’s actions destroyed the KKK.

The various reincarnations of the KKK in the 20th century, while inspired by the Reconstruction KKK (or, to be more precise, by the portrayal of that group in the movie Birth of A Nation), are distinct from that organization, even if they have many things in common, including an identification with the Confederacy and the preservation of white (Christian/Protestant) supremacy through terror, intimidation, and violence. But to say that they are the same is to overlook a great deal.

It is also unfortunate that many people identify white supremacist terrorist violence during Reconstruction with the KKK alone. That would be incorrect. Violence and suppression against freed blacks started during the summer and fall of 1865: we can see institutional evidence of state-sponsored white supremacy in the passing of the Black Codes and in the shaping of the southern legal sysyem by the state governments founded during presidential Reconstruction (especially during the Johnson presidency). Neither the Memphis nor New Orleans massacres of 1866 were KKK operations. Moreover, the tendency to identify the KKK with Nathan Bedford Forrest tends to obscure the fact that many Confederate veterans, including prominent ones such as John B. Gordon, donned Klan robes and did all they could to counter the emergence of black equality and political power. The KKK was far more pwerful in 1867 and especially 1868, when it battled the advent of black political power and the Republican party, and the organization in various forms persisted into the early 1870s, proving especially important in the Carolinas.

But the so-called destruction of the KKK in the aftermath of the passage of the Ku Klux Act and Grant’s application of the act in South Carolina in September 1871 did not spell the end of white supremacist terrorist violence. Far from it. Such violence took new forms under new names and emplyed new tactics and strategies (see the Mississippi Plan of 1875) as it did much to accomplish what the original KKK failed to achieve. Occasionally even biographers of Grant ignore or stumble over this inconvenient truth, most notably in Geoffrey Perret’s 1997 study, which was virtually silent about Reconstruction in Grant’s second term. By paying far too much attention to the KKK as the expression of such violence, Perret blinded himself to what else was going on … or perhaps he simply didn’t know about it. We must not be so ignorant.

But wait … there’s more.

Like several Confederate heritage groups, the KKK makes for good video, especially with the Confederate flag waving in the background or in places like Stone Mountain, a place favored by, among others, the Virginia Flaggers. Indeed, it’s not hard to draw connections between the KKK, other white supremacists, and Confederate heritage groups, as this news item this past week demonstrates. Note that the KKK leaders portrayed in this report endorse Trump and pledge death to their enemies (although they then claim that they don’t mean what they say–we’ve heard that excuse before from Confederate heritage apologists when white supremacists have advocated violence). And, of course, many of you will recall Mr. Heimbach’s association with a certain Virginia-based Confederate heritage group, one the group’s leadership has never disavowed (recall Virginia Flagger Tripp Lewis’s declaration that Mr. Heimbach was “a good guy”). A review of the social media offerings of several Virginia Flaggers reveals that, like the KKK and their buddy Heimbach, they, too, support Donald J. Trump for president.

Then again, Nathan Bedford Forrest, who was prominent in KKK circles during Reconstruction, did much to play down that association when he appeared before a congressional investigating committee in 1871. The Virginia Flaggers would like to do the same with their association with Heimbach and other white supremacists, including two people who rented them land upon which to fly their flags near Virginia interstates. But how can we forget that the spokesperson of the Virginia Flaggers, Susan Frise Hathaway, openly idolizes Forrest and Wade Hampton, whose Red Shirts used white supremacist terrorist tactics to regain control of South Carolina’s state government? The woman in the red dress loves that man and his Red Shirts.

As Mark Twain once reminded us, although history may not repeat itself, sometime it rhymes.